Archive for the “charismatic” Category

3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the LORD always,
for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.

Isaiah 26:3-4

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

I woke up in perfect peace this morning. What a wonderful thing! I honestly can’t remember when the last time was that I slept so well and woke up in such peace. Which is a huge God thing because a little more than three weeks ago I had some routine tests that led to some less-than-routine tests that are leading to surgery to rule out some serious medical issues. There’s an 80% chance that I’ll be fine…and a 20% chance that I won’t be so fine.

And the very-cool-very-God-thing is that (for the most part), I have been able to not be anxious about it. No, it goes beyond that – I have had a supernatural peace surrounding me and filling me. Sure, I’ve had my less peaceful moments when I needed my husband to hold me and tell me he had a feeling everything would be all right! But there have been very few of those moments and in between them I have a strong confidence in my God who has promised so many things to me.

I’ve always wondered how to have this kind of peace! I know I don’t have all the answers and I don’t pretend to have it all together, but I am learning some things through the process that I’d like to share. God has been gracious enough to open my eyes to things I’m doing that help me experience what He’s doing in me – giving me peace beyond my wildest expectations! Maybe some of these things will help you keep the peace.

  • Purpose to pursue God in your situation. I remember as my husband and I were driving somewhere shortly after my second test. I looked at him and said, “I so want to do this well. I want to trust God in a way that I haven’t trusted him in the past.” God saw the desire of my heart and is giving it to me.

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart

Psalm 37:4

  • Don’t be so proud – ask others to pray for you. I am absolutely certain that the prayers of faithful friends have a lot to do with my peace. I think it was in the same conversation when I said I wanted to do this well when a few minutes later I said something about not doing so well with all this. That’s when my husband reminded me that when I’m weak others will stand in the gap for me. His comment restored my peace. Share your needs with friends, and don’t ask them to pray just for healing. Ask them to pray for God’s presence to be manifest in your life.
  • Remind yourself of the promises of God. I wrote the blogs on Ephesians 1 shortly after I learned that more testing was needed. I have been so blessed when I meditate on Paul’s words that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms simply because I belong to Christ.
  • Have a rhema Word from God to hold on to. The Bible uses two different words that are translated “word” – logos and rhema. There is not complete agreement on the definition and use of these words: many evangelicals believe there is no difference; many charismatics believe there is a substantive difference. I fall into the camp of the charismatics on this one. Have you ever read the Bible and a specific passage came alive to you and seemed to have supernatural application to your life at that time? That is what would be called a rhema word. A rhema word is a word from God that has immediate and significant, even supernatural impact in your life at that time.

One of the characteristics of a rhema word is that it is life-giving. It is the word used in Matthew 4:4:

But he answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

Guess what! You and I can’t control God (for which I am quite thankful!). That means we can’t demand or manufacture a rhema word from God – He has to reach down and give it. But you can put yourself in a place where you are more likely to receive it. We all hear from God differently, so pursue God diligently in the way you are most likely to hear from Him:

    • If you most often hear from God through His Word, be especially diligent to study God’s Word.
    • If you hear from God most clearly during worship, add times of worship to your week. Listen to worship music, attend your church’s worship team’s practice session.
    • If you experience God most often while serving others, serve wholeheartedly.
    • In all these things, ask God for a word or promise to hold on to. God will speak to you.
  • Stay connected with the Body of Christ, particularly those people who tend to hear from God prophetically (or those who are prophetically gifted). My pastor prayed for me last Sunday and during the prayer he spoke prophetically that God was going to show me His goodness and grace in the coming months in a way that I haven’t known in the past. WOW! Does that mean my diagnosis will be the one I don’t want but He’ll walk through it with me, or does it mean I’ll be in the 80%, which would be showing wonderful goodness and grace to me? I don’t know. But I know He’s going to show me His goodness and grace beyond what I have known in the past and that’s a promise that fills me with hope and peace. It is a promise that makes me look forward to whatever God has for me in the coming months.
  • Limit yourself when it comes to learning about what might happen in the future. I’ve talked with doctors and they are very careful to only give you enough information to get you to the next test. The Internet, on the other hand is happy to let you spend hours reading about all the what-ifs that might come into your life. The doctors know what they’re doing in this regard. I’ve learned to recognize when I’m approaching that tipping point where information is about to rob me of my peace, joy and faith, and I back away from the edge. I’m not deceiving myself or not facing the truth. I am just acknowledging that dwelling on the details can quickly overwhelm me so I back off and run to my storm shelter. I know the truth about my situation and choose to dwell in the shadow of the Almighty instead of staring down the barrel of possibilities that may never materialize. To do the latter is to invite the enemy to wreak havoc with my peace.
  • Limit yourself when it comes to talking about your situation negatively. This is very similar to the point above. I process things verbally, so the temptation for me is to talk, talk, talk about it. Anytime someone says “how’s it going?” or “what’s new?” my mind immediately jumps to these tests which occupy the major portion of a couple of days each week. It doesn’t take many sentences, though, before I can hear the strain in my voice. There’s that tipping point again. Back away from the edge – most people don’t want that much detail anyway.
  • Throughout the day when my mind wants to dwell on the what ifs, I return to the rhema Word, other promises God has given me, and the goodness of the God who loves me and blesses me beyond my ability to comprehend.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9

I’m reading a book about grace. In it, I read that Charles Spurgeon, the famous British pastor, once described faith as:

“believing Christ is who He said He was and that He’ll do what He promised to do – and then living accordingly.”*

I want to live in such a way that people see that I serve a God I trust. Otherwise, why would they want to meet Him?

* Captured by Grace, No One is Beyond the Reach of a Loving God by Dr. David Jeremiah, Thomas Nelson, © 2006, page 36.

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Now you might read this title and think I’m going to write something really deep about being a Christian living in a world in which I’m a foreigner, waiting for a new and better Kingdom to come.

You’d be wrong.

I’m writing instead about living between the worlds of evangelicalism and pentecostalism. Yep, that’s me. I know I’m not alone. While attending grad school, there were a number of students that described themselves as “bapticostal” or some similar title. Many charismatics/pentecostals “live” incognito in evangelical churches. I’m not sure I’ve ever met an evangelical who’s lived incognito in a charismatic/pentecostal church, but there are probably some out there.

Phil & I prefer the title “empowered evangelicals” stolen from the title of Rich Nathan’s book. Great book. He finds a way to bring both sides together, avoiding extremes in all issues, but allowing for the Spirit to move freely and in power. (Well, maybe not as freely as some from a pentecostal background might prefer!) 🙂

We have often felt that God had called us to be “bridge people” – called to influence the opinion of our evangelical brethren toward charismaticism and vice versa. For much of our Christian life, we’ve “lived” as empowered evangelicals in evangelical churches. We often felt like we had to hide the “empowered” side of our walk with the Lord, at least until people knew us and trusted us…because we’re WAY more charismatic than our evangelical friends suspect. We’re currently living as empowered evangelicals in a church with strong pentecostal roots. We sometimes feel like we need to hide our evangelical leanings in the same way…because we’re way more evangelical than our pentecostal friends suspect.

You know, guys…God is way bigger than this. His “personality” is both evangelical and pentecostal. And He desires for His Church to be a reflection of Him. Can’t we all just get along?
I’m sure my tension in this area will come thru in these blogs. Feel free to add your comments.

Comment from dansdesk
You’ve certainly helped move me to a more balanced position. Thanks! I need to read that book!Dan
Thursday July 19, 2007 – 04:17pm (EDT)

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