I want to thank all of you who have responded to my request for topic that you want to make certain were covered in the up-coming E-course on Trauma Prayer. There have been 188 responses with roughly twice that many topics/questions. Thank you so much.
The one that popped up repeatedly is actually at the foundation of the reason for trauma in the first place and I felt it was so important that I will deal with it here, as well as in the e-course. The following was one such respondents post that is typical of so many of the others;
"God's trauma drama never changes, just repeats itself over and over. Why does God continually allow trauma drama in lives that have already experienced it? Why doesn't God allow trauma drama in the others who never have had it? Does God enjoy repeating the trauma drama effect on the minority whose lives are already broken down? Does God take pleas(ure) in allowing trauma drama in people already hurting to scar them or cause more pain in their lives?"
Trauma usually happens fairly early in life, primarily before we have developed our cognitive reasoning ability; that which allows to see cause and effect. The enemy (satan and demonic minions) is to blame. His purpose is to alienate you from God by causing you to believe that God was actually the perpetrator - He caused it all. It was His plan because for some reason He hates you. Many folks have believed it, even though there's absolutely no truth in it. So God IS the problem.
If satan isn't successful with that approach, then he will later give you a few opportunities to believe that God could have protected you from it, but intentionally chose not to, so either way, your troubles are actually God's fault and the full blame is dropped on His doorstep. By default, He becomes the bad guy, even though He had absolutely nothing to do with it.
When trauma becomes problematic for us personally, and we've had some religious training, or we choose to go to God as a last resort to fix things, and nothing changes, or things get worse, then our original belief system is verified. What I really believe (because my circumstances always tell me the truth) dictates what I can receive. Consequently, my deeply rooted subconscious belief systems will always win over my current conscious desires for healing and deliverance from the oppressiveness of my present circumstances.
The Trauma Prayer is founded in the fact that the devil is the bad (always) and God is good (always) and that God can and will chose to fix the issues if we ask and choose to cooperate with His prescription. As Derik Prince stated many years ago, "God will deliver you from your enemies, but not your friends." And I hasten to add, "including your screwed up belief systems."
In short, you have fallen for the belief system of the system of this world - the teaching of the enemy of your soul himself. Until you can get this foundational element of trauma recovery put in place properly, all your remaining days will continue to be filled "trauma drama" because you have been taught not to trust the One who has all your answers.
Now someone reading this is bound to counter with ... but God is in control. Again making it God's fault, which is precisely where the new age argument originates that states if God is a loving God why is there so much suffering in the world? Once again naming God as the culprit. That argument has even been extended to say because the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ dealt with all sin, then everyone will eventually go to Heaven. That too is a slap in God's face essentially saying that God thinks it's okay for you to be abused, then tormented over and over. Are you beginning to see the ploy?
You see, God is not in control of everything. He's only in control of those things we give Him control over. Abusers will only satisfy their anger and lust. They will never surrender control to God, hence the damage we experience. satan is the ruler of this world and he hates God and he hates you because you were God's prized creation sent here to take dominion over satan's rebellious works.
I pray that God will grant you the grace to repent of this funky belief system and all its various ramifications in your life so that the fullness of His statement in Revelations Chapter 21 may be your, "I am the God that makes ALL thing new. Write this down, for it is faithful and true!"
I have run into several folks in the last couple of months who have become stuck in all areas of their lives; paralyzed might even be a more apt description of where they were. The common thread that they all exhibited is that they thought they heard God's direction, acted on it, and found themselves in a hole they couldn't get out of. The disappointment that each felt was not only real, but confining because now they were both questioning themselves and God too.
For those of you who have read my book Defeating Jezebel (available on Amazon) you will perhaps recognize disappointment as one of the enemies that are unleashed upon us as a result of a higher order demonic declaration of war against us. We can become a victim of disappointment through all kinds of ways, but most of them are, at least partially, of our own doing; false or excessively high expectations, presumption, choosing to believe unrealistic promises, idealism, or entitlement, among others. Regardless of how it happened, recovering from it, particularly if the effects of it go on for an extended period of time, is not easy because one of the objectives of the attack is to get you to thinking that you can't really hear God, and you are bound to make another bad decision anyway, so why try. When you entertain either of these thoughts more than once you begin to dig the hole a little deeper because hope begins to fade. Hope is a precious thing that must be guarded. There is always hope that God will sweep in and save the day, however if you have bought one or both of the lies above, then you are in real trouble.
As noted in the book Defeating Jezebel, the answer is to get God back in the place He used to be in when you were under the fountain of grace that made things flow properly; in short, when you were following peace in spite of all the challenges. For those of you who find yourself in the high weeds with no seeming way of escape, don't delude yourself any longer that you have been doing it right, and just made some kind of error that you can right. Get the book, read it, and put the solution provided in the book into play as quickly as you can. The attack will be crushed soon and you'll be back under that sweet fountain of grace that ushers in peace and security.
For Husbands and Fathers Who are Emotionally Disconnected
Whether it’s family induced trauma, abuse and victimization, the effects of a dysfunctional lifestyle of your family of origin, poor decisions early in adulthood, or simply growing up under parents who were nice but also emotionally unavailable or disconnected, the results are difficult to recognize while we are still single. However, get a few years of marriage under your belt and the impact becomes all too apparent in the relationship.
Meaningful conversation is at the heart of meaningful relationship. Not perfunctory communication, that’s not conversation, that’s transfer of information which does nothing for a relationship. That should be reserved for exchanges at a drive-up window. Communication is an exchange of what you think, and what you want and why you want it, not what you know. These exchanges don’t have to be full of emotion, but they do have to reflect how you feel about issues. If you can’t or won’t tell your spouse what you need in your relationship, they can’t give it to you.
Meaningful conversation can be very raw and potentially destructive, if you allow it to be. Men who have not been able to converse deeply have seldom spent any time processing their thoughts out loud. Consequently, some of it may come out sounding harsh and condemning. If you are the stifled male, then you are going to have to realize that unprocessed thoughts and emotions may not be received well as you learn how to open up. If you are the female then you are going to have to realize that for a time this will be awkward and even hurtful at times, because they felt they had no power or voice in the past and that always breeds anger. That dynamic often makes people feel that they should quit, for God only knows what else is buried down there, or you choose to try to fix them by becoming their counselor. Neither of these is going to yield what you are looking for.
Two of the biggest problems relationships have today are the invasion of social media through smart-phones, and the pervasive belief that all my time has to be productive. These two have conspired to rob us of the opportunity of time for deep one-on-one personal interaction. You may need to plan a media fast and consider taking an hour walk with each other two or three times a week.
Then there is the tendency to be busy all the time, which is usually the case with emotionally disconnected people. If you are busy all the time then you don’t have time to think about all the painful stuff that needs to be sorted out in your life. We presume that being busy (productive) is the most highly valued thing in our society. It has also served to become our distraction from thinking about prickly personal issues. Productivity is certainly king in the work environment, but once you are home you need to pick up the things that are productive relationally, and being busy doing chores doesn’t fit into that values set; hence embracing the exercise of walking and talking.
For the last 17 years my wife and I have made it a habit of going to receive ministry every year to 18 months. My most recent ministry trip was for a session in Nashville, TN. During the session I had the image in my mind’s eye of Jesus standing to my right tossing some small keys up and catching them, like so much small change. I asked Him what they were. He said, “They’re keys to parts of your heart that you have reserved for yourself.” Curious, I asked, “What is the largest of the keys to?” Immediately I had a memory. The memory that came up was from about 20 or 25 years ago, in which my wife would periodically say to me, “You have to protect me! Why won’t you protect me?” I could never figure out who, or what was attacking her, because nothing was that I could see. Eventually I asked her, “From what?” Instantly I now understood why she felt and said what she did. Due to what I have obviously felt was a crappy childhood, I apparently locked up a portion of my heart to protect it against feeling any more pain. The result was that although Pat couldn’t articulate what she felt, she knew that there was a part of me that she couldn’t have, and that made her feel unsafe. I needed to know this 25 or more years ago. But if you don't ask, you don't get and answer. If you don't seek, you won't find.
Folks, we always have a reason for the way we conduct our relationships. Unfortunately, we are totally unaware of them, or how many of our actions impact our spouse. King David said in Psalms 139, “Search me and know me. See if there be any wicked way in me.” I think that what he was saying to God was, “Look, you know I’ve been faithful to deal with the stuff you’ve shown me, but I can’t resolve the things I can’t see. Show me the hidden motivations of my heart.”
Intentionally attempting deep conversation is often the doorway that begins to deal with the hidden motivations of our heart that have caused us to be emotionally unavailable or disconnected from those we love.
It’s time for your walk now.
We have had numerous requests for marriage counseling over the years, and it seems that the demand has increased significantly in the last few months. We are praying into the potential of offering a number of marriage retreats and seminars that would give folks some tools to improve their relationships. Look for an announcement.
The primary thing that seems to be cropping up in marriages recently has been the number of issues men have had with being emotionally shut down and unable to meaningfully connect with their spouse on a continuous basis. Usually this simply boils down to conversation, conversation that goes far beyond what do we need to accomplish to get through the day, or the week. To that end I have a suggestion to kick-start that for you and your spouse.
I would like to suggest a weekend get-away for the two of you.
Find a cabin in a park somewhere, by a lake or a river (stream) with walking trails. You may choose to dine at local restaurants, and take in a few shops, but don’t let it exceed three hours each day. This is a time to intentionally re-connect with each other’s heart. Leave your phones behind, or locked in the trunk of your car when you leave home on Friday night. Forget the kids, email and Facebook. Bring two or three bottles of good wine and some comfortable walking shoes. Oh, and pick a weekend with the likelihood of good weather. My wife and I went to the beach in mid-March and the bulk of it was cold, windy and rainy. It wasn’t much fun. Yes, we had some much needed downtime, but it was intended to be a beach trip, not a sit inside and catch up on your reading list time. Unless it’s Winter time with a roaring fire in the fire place, the simple act of being outdoors sitting in the sun beside the water does wonders for your soul.
The following conversation points are directed at getting deeper with each other emotionally, which is why you have to make time for it. Don’t be satisfied with just filling out a string of answers to complete the propose assignment. As you are engaging each of these assignments include why you want this to happen, why it’s important to you and what it would do for you if you had it. If your spouse doesn’t know what you want, they can’t give it you. Further, if you don’t know what you want you’ll always be dissatisfied. And last, but certainly not least, if you cannot verbally declare what you want even God can’t engage with you in it. You create with your voice, even as God did, because it activates the Holy Spirit, as well as the angels, and your declarations tend to bring an order your life that is positive.
What are your dreams for the future individually?
Examples are; Personal growth, increased level of joy, exercise, expanding the number of personal friends, hobbies you have put off that you would like to engage in, dreams you have laid down because there wasn’t time or resources or because you thought it was impractical, travel you would like to do, things you would like to learn, adventures you would like to experience, classes you would like to take, etc.
Write them down.
What are your personal dreams for the two of you?
Some specific examples are; Spending time together, time apart, changes in your sex life, activities you would consider doing regularly, engaging intentional spiritual growth, conferences you would consider attending, marriage seminars and retreats you would attend, praying together, outdoor activities, improvements in the house and property you need or would like to make, take dance lessons, invest in things that create more beauty in your lives (planting flowering shrubs, trees or flowers) or things that will create more leisure time, weekend travel, vacations you would like to take including the favored destinations and what you would do there, changes in the atmosphere of your home, people you would like to exclude from your circle and those to begin engaging, attend a cooking class, start a garden, eat healthier, etc.
Write them down.
What would you personally like to accomplish before midnight on December 31st of this year? Then as a couple?
Write them down.
What barriers to achieving these things can you identify?
What can you do to begin to address them? What are you willing to commit to in breaking through them? What can each of you do to help your spouse achieve their individual goals, your collective objectives, or pierced barriers?
So often in life our marriage roles become fixed, because one or the other is more suited to fulfilling those roles, or there is a presumption that those roles are set by our culture and we simply adopt them because “that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.” We actually never discussed them, we just settled into them because that’s what our family of origin did. Are there chores, or tasks that you perform that you would like to give up, not because you are tired of it, but because you are actually not suited for it and you need help? Lay it out before each other. Discuss potential options and consider a time table for implementation of what you can mutually agree on.
Finally, I would like each of you to make a hardcopy list of at least ten (10) things that you love, admire and appreciate about your spouse.
Attempt to fully express why you love/admire/appreciate this characteristic in them and what it means to you that they have it. I would suggest that you recall what attracted you to them in the first place and why that is still important to you, even how its made a difference in your life. Write this down before you leave for the weekend, and read this to each other before you go to bed on Friday night, but only if there is ample time, (this isn’t just a box to check off.) Then do it again on Saturday night, but try to use different words and examples. This may take some time, so don’t wait till Friday afternoon to start it. Shoot for completion at least by Thursday evening. Feel free to make it longer than ten items.
By Jim Banks, House of Healing Ministries
As I contemplate turning 70 in March of ’17, I am drawn to asking a few questions; How do I want to spend my remaining years? How can I make the most impact with the years I have left? And where can I make the most impact with them? This obviously signifies that I am desirous of living my life in a manner other than que sera sera. In other words, I want to live my life with specific intent, that is consistent with the purpose for which I was created.
We all have choices in life. Sometimes we make good ones, and sometimes we make bad ones, but we can reduce the number of bad ones by knowing what our purpose is. There is nothing that sucks the life out of us more than the empty feeling that accompanies lack of purpose. We simply don’t know what to do with ourselves, where to turn our attention, or what to give ourselves to. We all want our lives to have meaning, to make our mark, and to be fulfilled in the process. Not knowing our purpose thwarts all of that. There’s an old saying that goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Without a sense of your design, your reason for being here, circumstances and well-meaning acquaintances will define it for you, and it usually has something to do with what they want to achieve, rather than helping you achieve your goals.
We were living in the Atlanta area several years ago. I had been introduced to Asheville, NC by a friend who felt that the Lord wanted him to move there and start a church. I went with him and fell in love with the city and all the strange rangers that were visiting that weekend. I came home and started inquiring of the Lord if we should move there? Is this what You have for us? Is this Your will? What do You want? I didn’t hear a single thing from Him for several weeks. It was very frustrating. Then one Friday night after a long work week, I sat down in a chair that has been vacated by someone I had just prayed for. I don’t remember praying anything, of even saying anything. The Lord interrupted me with a single question, “What do you want?”
Immediately, I thought, “This isn’t the way this is supposed to work. You’re supposed to tell me what to do and I’ll go do it.” His reply was, “Yeah, slaves think like that. What do you want?” I was dumb struck, for I knew that the question was much bigger than a simple move from one city to another. It was about what I wanted for the rest of my life, and I was stuck for an answer. I really couldn’t articulate it. So I responded with, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
This ultimately is the question every human must come to grips with, and answer with as much detail as you can muster; for in it is the expression of your individual design, your purpose, your destiny if you will. This is because in answering that question you will also bring an order to your life that has evaded you. The answer to that question sets in stone all your priorities, it establishes your boundaries, it determines what you will prepare for, sacrifice for, think about, and even helps you define the character of your potential spouse (if you’re still looking.) But it also very subtly sets the guidance system of your life on a course that allows you to live your life with intentionality; it inherently has the ability to calm you and to focus you on what’s important both for the short and long term, which allows you to make better decisions.
Does answering that question require you have to have it all figured out? No, not at all, but God created you with some very specific wiring, skills, temperament, intellect, curiosity, talents, abilities and gifts, the things you love and the things you are passionate about, etc. that are consistent with the unique thing He created you to accomplish. You need to understand them and how they fit into the puzzle of purpose fulfilled. You also need to remember that God is on your side in this matter; man plans his way, but God orders his steps. (Proverbs 16:9) We cannot see the end from the beginning like God does. He knows precisely how to get you where you are supposed to be, but He cannot steer a ship to its intended destination if it never leaves the anchorage.
The first step to living with intent and fulfilling your purpose, is to know your purpose.
If you are planning or considering retirement here is something to consider.
I think one of the more interesting things about retirement is that it is not a Biblical term. It is certainly a reality of a season of life that we must prepare for because we will eventually reach a point of diminishing productivity and ability due to advanced age, or perhaps we become incapacitated by the effects of old age and are no longer able to engage in our former livelihood as before, but the Bible doesn't really recognize that eventuality because productivity is not a Kingdom concept. I suppose those magic "retirement" dates (age criterion) began to be thrust upon us when Social Security benefits became available, and when company retirement benefits maxed out at 25 or 30 years of service, and folks just decided, "What's the point of working any further, there's nothing to gain. Now I can go do what I wanna do."
The reality is that as Kingdom citizens we never lose our value to others in the Kingdom, or to the world around us, except by personal choice. Yes, we don't have as much energy used to, so we don't feel that we are as productive as we once were, but what we lack in energy and stamina we more than compensate for with wisdom, knowledge and experience gained through years of service to the King. Generally, it our pride that causes us to pack it in when we can't seem to do what we used to do with equal facility and ease. Hence our, "value" in our eyes is diminished; in essence, we consider ourselves to be worth less. How many folks to do you who died within six months of retirement?
We are not retired, in fact we've probably worked harder do ministry in the last 15 years than we ever did in the previous decades in the secular work force ... but have enjoyed it a whole lot more. The romance of travel having left me 30 years ago, it's become a bit wearisome. In our advancing years my wife and I have found that our Kingdom ministry roles have begun to morph toward mentoring, as well as fathering and mothering a bunch of 20-somethings who's parents didn't do their jobs very well. By and large this generation has little personal vision, no direction and are clueless about the Kingdom of God and their potential place in it. In short, they don't really know what life is all about and consequently are not enjoying life much at all.
So the question for those of you planning for and considering retirement age is this; Where can I continue to give my life away in service to the King in a manner that is productive for the Kingdom, uses my accumulated skill, knowledge and experience, still challenges me and requires me to grow, yet affords me a bit slower pace and more time with family and friends?
I pray the Lord will begin to introduce you to the answer to this question.
As I write this we are preparing to head back to Mozambique at the end of the month for 8 weeks to do pastoral care for IRIS long term missionaries and 40 Harvest School staffers. At the tail end of that trip we'll spend three weeks in Germany doing trying and personal ministry. So we are not letting any dust settle on us.
Blessings on Ya as you see what the future holds.
As you may have seen in our relatively recent announcement, we are headed back to Mozambique, Africa again to minister to students and staff at Harvest School 24 in June and July. The IRIS Global base in Pemba, founded by Rolland and Heidi Baker, is expecting close to 250 students this year, which will mean there will be close to 30 staffers there as house moms and dads to help them through the transition to life in Africa and close quarters without their normal luxuries. No air conditioning and showering from a bucket is an experience that none of them have had. Getting used to it for some is a real challenge, as is living and sharing everything in a small space with 8 to 10 other (potentially very immature) folks. As they say, you don't know what's in the bottom of the cup until it gets shaken.
The number of full time missionaries there now is down a bit since our last visit due to some natural attrition. So they will have a good bit more stress on them as well. That's another reason why we'll be there.
As you may have read, Mozambique is experiencing some significant turmoil. Heavy rains have destroyed many crops, there is also a major drought in the central and southern part of the country, so there is a food shortage in these areas now. There is also renewed rebel violence in those same areas that began at the beginning of the year, which will likely be exacerbated by the shortages. Like most third world countries where poverty has been an issue for generations, the nation also experiences widespread corruption in all levels of government services. This will certainly not aid in easing any of these burdens. They need a great deal of prayer for God's direct intervention and some effective near term solutions to ease the suffering.
We hope to be a part of that, at least for those who are at this life changing school, and also for those long termers who are freely giving their lives to make a difference in the futures of several hundred orphans in their care. It was also a life transforming adventure for two aging geezers. It made a great impact on our understanding of the cultural differences and how real Kingdom principles are applied, rather than our American version of the Kingdom. (The Blog entry below may also help give you some further insight into the alteration of Kingdom understanding.)
Following Mozambique we are traveling to Frankfurt, Germany to do a couple of training sessions and do a great deal of personal ministry. We'll return August 18th. Obviously, there are going to be expenses involved, which we will have a tough time covering ourselves. Last Fall we wound up buying a moringa seed pulverizer for the IRIS moringa farm so they could more easily supply this nutritious food additive to the base supplied rice and beans they feed about 5,000 folks per day. They we doing by hand with a large stone motor and pestle. We need you to help and would encourage you to participate with us in this ministry opportunity. As you may know, when we are in Africa we are not earning money and the mortgage and insurance folk expect us to write frequently. So whatever you can do would be helpful.
You can donate through our web site www.houseofhealignministries.org. It is tax deductible as usual and we'll be sure to keep you updated while on the adventure. If you chose to donate via check, try to have it here by the May 23rd so we can attend to our book keeping before we head out on the 26th.
Thanks and God Bless you. Jim and Pat
In the past few months I have been praying the prayer at the tail end of my book The Insidious Dance; The Paralysis of Perfectionism audibly along with several of my clients. It is a prayer focusing on abandoning the system of this world and all its performance requirements and embracing new life in the Kingdom.
I don’t know what other things have changed in the last few weeks, but the Lord has been talking to me in depth about the Kingdom in the last couple of weeks in a way that is decidedly different and I believe that it has something to do with that prayer and finally seeing some of the major differences in the belief systems of the world’s system and that of the Kingdom of God. Perhaps it’s because I had started writing a new book about the Kingdom of God and He either didn’t want me to look stupid, or was concerned that I would do what so many others have before me have done and write about it from the wrong perspective (the world's).
The problem we Christians have had is that we are looking at spiritual matters through earthly eye and interpreting it through minds that have been trained by the world. In so doing we have elevated the wrong characteristics of the Kingdom far above the actual core values of the Kingdom. We have mistakenly thought that many of the elements that bring success in the world are actually Kingdom principles that have infiltrated the world. For instance, I have taught on 2 Corinthians 5:20a “Now then we are Ambassadors for Christ …” Webster’s 1833 Dictionary defines it as; “A minister of the highest rank employed by one prince or state, at the court of another, to manage the public concerns of his own prince or state, and representing the power and dignity of his sovereign. They are also called ministers.”
In truth, we are ambassadors, ministers and representatives of a superior Kingdom sent to a foreign one (in which we physically reside) to demonstrate the superiority of that heavenly Kingdom in comparison to the rules, regulations, laws and principles of this earthly kingdom and those that rule over it. Since our citizenship is elsewhere, we choose only to follow the laws of this realm as dictated by the laws of our own, choosing to practically demonstrate to the citizens of this realm the ascendant supremacy of our own, and the dominance of its benevolent sovereign head.
The primary means by which we Christian to express our demonstrations of the Kingdom is actually a limitation of it; Words of Knowledge, healings and deliverances; in essence, exclusively exercising the power gifts. These were certainly things demonstrated repeatedly during the ministry of Christ here on earth, but is by no means the limit of it, and “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.” (Matt 10:25) The idea behind limiting out expressions of the Kingdom to operation of the power gifts falls in line with the teachings of the system of this world; might makes right. If I kick out a demon, then say I love you, does that mean I’ve met the qualifications for Kingdom citizenship, or relationship? I think not.
So what other demonstration of the Kingdom do we need to include.
Well, first of all let’s back away a bit. The entire Bible is a book solely about relationship; a relationship that God chose to have with a special group of people. It is about the ups and downs, and the in’s and out’s of that relationship. The New Testament is the part where we are included in that relationship. It is the declaration of God’s love for us saying that even while we were still His enemy, He loved us and still chose us. So there is the requirement that to be in the Kingdom, we have to have a relationship with Him. In fact we have to be one with Him. (John 17) He so wanted to be with us that when we finally chose Him (salvation), He sent His Holy Spirit to join with ours on an individual basis.
But the requirement for Kingdom relationship doesn’t stop there. It is expected that it will be extended to others who believe in the King as well, and then, like Him, extended to those who are yet His enemies. When you take stock of the status of the American church today, as well as our individual belief systems, we see that relationship with our fellow believers (joint heirs) fails to meet the King’s expectation of the citizens of the Kingdom. In fact, for many it seems to have become their duty, even their identity, to point out their particular differences from the other factions, as though it confirmed their holiness to the Lord. Here in central Kentucky we have a group that identifies themselves as “Separate Baptists.” I’m not sure what that means other than by the admission of one of their own adherents when asked what the difference was, “Well, I’m not sure. We’re just not like the rest of them Baptists.” Well, I’m so happy for you all, but if “Judge Not” is one of the basic tenets of citizenship in the Kingdom, and you are also required to “forgive” and to “Love” those who are not like you, then there is an undeniable question about the legitimacy of your claim to Kingdom citizenship.
Philippians 2:1-4 “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (ESV)
Now I understand that there are differences in worship, preaching and teaching styles among our various sects, even slight differences in beliefs. Some we are more comfortable with than others and we naturally gravitate to the ones we are most at ease with. However, in so doing, we also separate ourselves along the lines of comparable values, similar life styles, education and race – not to mention the sect we were raised in or around. The problem with this is that as long as we doggedly hold on to our preferences, shunning others in the process, we cannot readily claim Kingdom citizenship anymore than those who identify themselves as “Separate What-evers” because of our judgments and exclusivity.
We have so clung to the efficacy of the minutia of doctrinal differences and how we practice them that we have utterly failed to consider the foundational requirement of the Kingdom of God, authentic relationship with Him and His other subjects, thereby insuring that we are not actually Kingdom citizens at all. The principle behind the elevation of distinctions that separates us has been taught to us by the world; If I am right in what I believe, then you are wrong.
We were created for relationship. Relationship is the essence of the Kingdom. It is the only thing that brings us true fulfillment and continual life. It is the life blood of community – and the Kingdom. It is the process of knowing and being known (Matt 7:21-23) in spite of our differences, for it actually our differences that make us valuable to one another. We tend to approach knowing and being known with some trepidation because we don’t want folks (much less God) to know “everything” about us, for they might reject us, or use what they know against us. So the fight for relational connection with man becomes a delicate fitful dance; too far, not near enough, how much can I say and still look good? How much pain can I expose without disclosing my need? How much is too much information and not really expressive of how I feel? I want to feel good about saying it, but not simultaneously reveal my weakness. And yet, if I am not “known” I will never feel connected.
These are always the risks of relationship and community. As citizens of the Kingdom we must face them in ourselves and in others with love, patience and bravery. We must not be afraid to encounter and completely resolve the hidden motivations of our heart, along with the anti-Kingdom principles taught to us by living in the world, and particularly the ones that we have transported into our expressions of life in the Kingdom, for they are the very things that will keep us from experiencing life to the fullest and will eventually keep us out of the Kingdom.
Matthew 8:11-12 “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (KJV)
Some Life Lessons
This past week there was a post on Facebook touting the horror of two gay men adopting a little girl and asking all Christians to pray against all those who would allow such a thing, then Like and Share their post so others could do the same. My comment was a bit terse.
After having spent six weeks in Mozambique during the past Oct and November … at a ministry that takes care of several thousand orphans (at numerous locations), I have to say that many of our “Christian” ideologies do not accurately reflect Kingdom principles at all; taking care of and nurturing orphans (of any age), regardless of who does it, does. America is just as much of a throw away nation as any other when it comes to children, and the favor of God is singularly toward those who choose to care for windows and orphans. Scripture abounds with verses that reinforce His heart in the matter. And to give testimony to it, I personally do not know of a single ministry that is honestly caring for orphans (rather than trying to make a living off of them) that is doing poorly financially, and in all our travels this past year, we’ve been introduced to quite a few.
As a Christian you may not like the fact that gays and lesbians have been given legal rights to adopt a child, not only because of Biblical warnings against homosexuality, but it is also hard to imagine that a child will be able to grow up with an appropriately healthy image of its own sexuality in such an environment. I have no statistical information on how long such relationships last, but they can’t be much worse than they are with heterosexual couples these days.
The needs of a child are very simple; stability and love. Orphans get this in many institutional settings, but only in small doses, so small in fact that most children raised in an orphanage do not fare well when, due to age, they are released to fend for themselves. A family setting provides the best nurture and the best chances for personal success because it tends to develop a child’s personal identity, which generally equates to much better chances for social success. Gays and lesbians can at least provide that element to children simply because they choose to love them.
So the next time you are asked to weigh in on this issue, try to do so with your heart, not your religious head, because your heart is much more apt to look for the application of love than it is for the rule of law in accord with Biblical principle.
We've been involved in inner healing (otherwise known as sanctification)and deliverance biz for 30+ years. These Blog entries are a collection of thoughts and experiences that we thought might be (at the most) helpful and (at the least) interesting. Some of them include challenges we've experienced and how we've tried to engage them.