Tag: goodness

LIFE: love I

The more I experience life with God, the more I am caught up into His love. Life and love go hand-in-hand. I don’t believe you can truly know God without experiencing both because God is both. God is love (1 John 4:8) and God is life (Genesis 1, 2; Exodus 3:14; Psalm 139:13-16; John 1:4; 8:58; 14:6; Thessalonians 1:9). It is within love that life gets released. When Jesus came down from Heaven to Earth, He said He came to give us life abundant (John 10:10b). I believe there is much confusion in what most believers understand as being a child of God and what it means to be in Christ. For those in Christ there is no more punishment from God, only discipline (Hebrews 12:10, 11). Because Jesus took upon Himself the full wrath of God for sin (Romans 3: 23-25; 1 John 2:2), citizens of the Kingdom of God no longer have to fear judgment or punishment.

“All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because He loved us first” (1 John 4:15-19 NLT). What this says to me is that the more we know and experience God’s perfect love in Jesus, the more we will understand that we no longer have to fear judgment or punishment from God because through Jesus we can approach the Father with confidence (also cf. Hebrews 4:14-16). Even more, it is God’s love that fuels our love (v.19). Love and life go hand-in-hand, “all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them” (v.16), what an amazing truth.

But, one of the more effective schemes of the devil is to trick people into believing that God’s heart towards us is to do us wrong and that He cannot be trusted. Isn’t that what happened in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) and what the devil tried to do during Jesus’ testing in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13)? If the devil can skew our perspective on the goodness of God than in many ways he has succeeded in driving a wedge between us and God because he has stolen our confidence in approaching God for love and care. The Scripture verse that continually helps me to reorient myself in understanding God’s heart towards me in contrast to the devil’s schemes is John 10:10 “The thief [devil] comes to steal, kill and destroy. I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (ESV). We must never forget that God’s desire is that we should live! His heart towards us is to bring more and more life (and love) into our lives.

So this is my prayer: that the Father would pour out His grace upon our lives and that He would heal our minds by replacing any distorted views we have of Him with the truth of what His Word and Spirit testify to Who He Is. That through the living presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us He would release more of His love and life, so that it literally overflows into every area of our lives and into every relationship. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Yes, God still miraculously heals today!

On Sunday, September 27th, 2010, God supernaturally grew out one of my legs and then evened them out. Yes, a physical creative miracle happened. The back story on this is that over the last four or five years my lower back has been steadily giving me more and more pain. All of this culminated a week before when I flew from Los Angeles to Chicago (September, 19th). After the flight I started to feel a sharp pain in my left leg and it even started to go numb from time to time. On Monday, I rested as much as I could, but the pain was still there. On Tuesday, I was walking through a grocery store and in the back by the pharmacy there was a little stand where a chiropractic business was checking people’s balance. I filled out the form and let them know that I had ongoing lower back pain and that now my left leg had just started to hurt and go numb from time to time. So, they had me stand on two scales, one for each foot and checked my balance. What the balance test revealed was that I leaned almost 12 pounds (5.5 kg) to my left leg which normally should only be a 2-3 pounds (0.9-1.2 kg) difference confirming that added pressure was being put on my sciatic nerve and was possibly causing the numbness.

To back up a bit, the week before all of this happened I felt the Lord really challenge me while I was at a prayer meeting (Septmeber 15th) where people were praying for healing for a woman. I very distinctly heard Jesus ask me: “Do you really believe that the Father will give you anything that you ask of Him in My Name?” His voice wasn’t an audible voice, but I distinctly felt and heard His voice reverberate throughout the whole of my being. I heard it in my head and in my heart all at the same time. It was like Jesus was speaking directly to my spirit. So, for the next few days I really wrestled with this question. But as I wrestled, Holy Spirit kept reminding me that the only reason that I live, move and have my being in Him at all is because of God’s grace. All the blessings in my life are truly undeserved; be it healing, salvation, deliverance, redemption or restoration. As Paul so eloquently put it, “But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT).

If you know my story, then you may think that if anyone should get this it’s me. But, though I have experienced many supernatural moves of God’s grace in my life, I still wrestled deep within my heart with a distorted view of God’s heart towards me. God’s heart towards us is to heal, save, redeem and restore, period. I mean He gave up His one and only Son, Jesus, so that He could accomplish all of these things through an intimate relationship with us for all eternity. That’s God’s heart towards us. He’s not stingy with His love, goodness, mercy and grace, but infinitely generous and compassionate when it comes to gifting, blessing and showing favor towards us. We just need to believe and receive His love, goodness, mercy, grace, gifts, blessings and favor. Coming to this revelation has really freed up my heart and mind to just receive from the Lord and allow Him to pour out the fullness of His grace upon my life. In my wrestling what I was confronted with was the belief that 1) I thought I needed to work for God’s grace, 2) I didn’t think that God wanted to show me more of His favor and 3) because I was too proud or too ashamed I would just plain refuse to accept God’s favor. But, the breakthrough came when I began repenting for these distorted beliefs of trying to earn God’s favor by working for it, of my own self-condemnation that I projected onto God thinking He didn’t want to show me more of His favor and of my pride and shame that refused to accept God’s goodness and blessings towards me.

Now back to the healing miracle at hand. After leaving the balance test, I began to think that maybe my left leg was a little longer than the other and because of this has effected my lower back over the years which is quite typical from what I understand. That night I had my connect group (small group) pray for my back, a couple people said they definitely felt like there was a spiritual component, one of them saw an image of a vine wrapped around one of my legs. When I woke up on Wednesday, the pinching and numbness was gone. Later that day I felt like I should try and measure my legs and ask for God to even them out. So, I sat on my bed stretched my legs out and placed my hands on my right hip and began to simple ask the Father in Jesus Name to even out my legs. Nothing fancy. Right away my right hip began to tingle for a minute or so and then stopped. In my spirit, I really felt like God did do something, but I wasn’t sure what. So, I thanked God for healing me and that was that. (I know this post is extra long, but I really want to give as clear and detailed account of everything that happened, so please bear with me. I promise you it’s worth it.)

Fast forward to Sunday, September 27th, 2010 around 8pm. I am at a teaching session on healing (through my church: CITC) at Chris and Nancy Whiteley’s house. As the teaching portion was ending, I asked the group to pray for my back pain. I didn’t go into detail of what had transpired earlier in the week, but did share that I felt like my back pain had a spiritual component, was possibly connect to a generational curse and that I felt like one of my legs could possibly be longer than the other. So, Nancy and Chris led me through a prayer of repentance over the generational curse over my family and then began prayerfully breaking in Jesus Name any connection that a spirit of infirmary may have had over my back pain and began praying for healing and restoration to any degenerative damage to my back. During this time I really didn’t feel anything at all. So, next they had me sit in a wooden chair with my lower back resting fully against the back of the chair. Chris then had me lift my legs and he held my feet together to see if they were different lengths. After the group looked at my legs they said that my right leg was definitely a little shorter than the left.

So, while Chris was holding my feet, Dave Foster put his hand on my right shin and began to invite the Holy Spirit to come and bring healing to my leg. Then Taylor Lyall, who had his hand on my right thigh began to command my right leg to grow out in Jesus Name. Here’s where it gets good. All of a sudden my right leg from the knee down began to tingle like crazy and then it felt like someone yanked really hard on my right foot and I literally felt my leg grow out from around my ankle area. Everyone there started screaming that my foot just totally grew out like an inch or so (maybe around 3 cm). Personally, it really felt like my leg had grown too much. I didn’t say anything but then Chris had Monica come put her hand on my feet and she began to pray that God would even out my legs. Then my left ankle area began to tingle too and it really felt like both my legs were shifting about. It was quite a strange feeling. I was literally holding onto the chair like I was about to take off or something. All in all, I think we prayed for maybe 10 minutes while I was sitting in the chair. Afterwards, when I stood up it definitely felt different.

Today (September 27th), as I am writing this the calf muscle in my right leg feels extra tight and my right knee feels a bit weird like it’s adjusting or something. I have no more pain in my lower back, but I do feel like the muscles back there are a tiny bit sore as well. Maybe my lower back muscles, nerves and tendons are also adjusting I’ll see over then next few weeks if I need more restorative prayer on my back. Over the weekend, I bought a balance board and ordered a Bosu ball because I wanted to work on resetting my balance. I’m glad I did because now I can work on my balance, not because I have one leg shorter than the other, but because God miraculously lengthened and evened out my legs and now I need to reset my balance because I have too legs that are the same length. God’s grace and goodness towards us is so amazing! So amazing!!!


The heart of the Father is goodness towards us to heal, save, redeem, restore and deliver, but because we are caught in a war where the enemy is constantly attacking people and trying to destroy them (John 10:10a) many people confuse this suffering as actually coming from the heart of God. The last thing God wants is that people would suffer, His heart is that no one perish, but all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Now if you’re like me than the question that comes to mind is: “Well, if God doesn’t want anyone to perish, than why doesn’t He cause this to happen?” The causality of God is surely a mystery. I mean the causality of God has been on the hearts and minds of people for thousands of years. I’m not about to wade into this debate, but rather share how I find peace in the midst of this mystery of God.

For me, when I don’t understand something in terms of faith and life (which happens often), rather than question the character of God, I try to remind myself of what Scripture says about Who God is. I mean the Scriptures describe God as the Eternal (Deuteronomy 33.27; Romans 1:20) King (Psalm 95:3; Isaiah 43:15), Who is an infinite (Psalm 147:5; Job 11:7-9), unchangeable (James 1:17), Spirit (John 4:24), perfect (Matthew 5:48) in holiness (Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:15-16), Living (Psalm 42:2; 84:2), True (Jeremiah 10:10), wise (Psalm 104:24; Proverbs 2:6; Isaiah 28:29), good (Exodus 33:19; Psalm 63:2; 31:19), just (Psalm 33:5; 89:14; Isaiah 30:18), all-powerful (Luke 18:27; Revelation 19:6), and love (1 John 4:8). When I allow this to be my starting point, then I have a better chance of discerning between what is from God and what is from the evil one. I know this is pretty simplistic, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that in the midst of unbelief and doubt, childlike faith is the only way to go because kids don’t doubt the goodness of God.

One of my most favorite things to do during church is to watch the children during worship. A strong personal conviction of mine is to have entire families together for worship. This may by trying for some and may mean allowing the children more room to roam and play (if need be), but biblically speaking I believe this paints a better picture of the worship around the throne of God. This may sting, but I really don’t think there will be a separate area for kids’ worship. Also, in this way children actually get to see their parents actively worshipping God which is invaluable. Some things are better caught than taught, for kids, worship is one of those things. But, for adults like me, there is also the blessing of seeing the Spirit of God touch the kids, moving them to sing and dance in worship to God which helps me to better understand what childlike faith looks like. Again, some things are better caught than taught, for adults, faith is one of those things.

Thanks to Sin, life is complicated enough. So, the last thing we should do in the midst of testing is to complicate it with complex theology. Now, I’m not saying that theology is bad, I find that thinking theological can be very profitable. But, at the end of the day, all theology should lead to worship. If it doesn’t than what’s the point. The reason we study the Scriptures is to better understand the one and only Living God in Whom we worship. This should be at the heart of our theological study. When our pursuit of theology actually gets in the way of our worship, then we should probably put our study on pause in order to regain a heart of worship. If there is one thing that we will be doing for all eternity is worshipping God. Worship is forever. 

GRACE II: grace flow

I think it is safe to say that we have all at some time received grace. Grace is unmerited favor. It means receiving something undeservedly. Simply speaking, this may mean receiving mercy in a trial or blessing in hard times. I find that generosity is a good descriptor of grace because out of the goodness and kindness of heart grace overflows. Often times one of the hardest things for a person to do is to receive grace. We would much rather work for the favor, than have to owe someone. But, this isn’t grace because grace gives freely with no strings attached. This is real grace. I mean that’s what I gather from reading the Bible, God gives generously and freely (no strings) out of the goodness and kindness of His heart. Do you believe this?

I’ve often heard grace described in terms of degrees. But, the more I experience God’s grace, the more I’m confronted with the inadequacy of this description. I believe a more robust image is needed in order to really capture the magnitude of God’s grace. We are all in need of grace, so rather than speaking in terms of degrees I’d like to propose facets, like a diamond. The amazing thing about God’s grace is it’s vastness, but also it’s particularity to each person. So rather than think in terms of more or less grace (degrees), it makes better sense to describe God’s grace in terms of differing facets. Because Sin manifests itself in differing ways in people’s lives, so differing facets of God’s grace will be needed. It’s not that a person needs more or less of God’s grace, but rather each person needs a unique combination of the many differing facets of the whole of God’s grace.

Now what has sparked this whole theological musing is the desire to level the playing field (so to speak). I mean Scripture says that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV), but I can’t tell you how often I hear people compare themselves to others in terms of grace: “that person needs more grace than I do” or “I don’t need as much grace as they do.” But, I believe this kind of thinking often comes from a place of self-righteousness, I mean isn’t that the way the Pharisees saw it? This way of thinking can begin to both directly and indirectly form an unspoken hierarchy amongst the people of God. Again, it’s not that we need differing degrees of God’s grace, but rather that we are in need of differing facets of the whole of God’s grace. Maybe to some this may seem like semantics, but my heart behind all of this is to bring greater love and unity to the people of God where we truly begin to see that we are all in this together and that from Heaven’s perspective we are all in equal need of God’s diamond of grace resting in and on our lives.