A Story About Faith and Authority

I want to tell you a little story about faith and our authority in Christ.

There are so many pits that we can fall into in this life.  A couple weeks or so ago,
I LITERALLY fell/stepped into a pit in a pitch black room (actually a trench but you get the gist).

trench

In 2003 I ruptured my L 3/4 4/5 and have been quite careful with my back since that time.  Once the reality of what had just happened registered in my mind, I began to think about how injured I was going to be.  Having had ruptured discs in the past, I knew that normally you do not jar your back, even a little bit, without serious consequences.

I crawled out of the trench and, thinking strictly in the natural, prepared myself for a serious problem with my back.  It took almost a week for it to get serious but it did, I could hardly walk or do anything else without being in agony.

You don’t always know the extent of a back injury immediately and I thought that I would be very lucky to be able to walk the next day.  It took almost a week for the real pain to start but when it did, it came with a vengeance.  The doctor said that the pain was likely delayed because my back had clenched and as long as it stayed in that clenched state, I didn’t feel the extent of the injuries.  It was only after a massage that the muscles be an to relax and the pain hit hard.

I have been hobbling around in pain as I tried to go about my daily life. Tim took over walking the dog because it just hurt me too badly.  He also took over lots of the other things I typically do in the house because I just couldn’t do them anymore.  I was doing everything I knew to do and had been told to do and the pain would not relent.

Sunday rolled around and I was dreading church because it is the place that I was most uncomfortable.  The pews put my back in a terrible position where I couldn’t find any relief.  I am so glad I didn’t give in to staying home because the Lord had a word for me.  Tim’s message was called Walking in Authority.  He talked about how we have the same authority to do things that Jesus did while on this Earth, to take authority over things that did not positively affect their lives.  One of his points highlighting this authority was when Jesus commanded the fig tree to never bear fruit again because it had no fruit at their time of need.  There was so much more to this message that is important about the absolute need to know the Father’s will in order to use this authority and reasons why your authoritative prayer might not have been/might not be answered (message is up on the ECC website Thursday or Friday if you want to listen).

As he was speaking, if occurred to me that if I truly believed what he was saying, I had authority to command my back to stop causing me agony and to start operating as God designed it to do.  I grabbed ahold of that truth and did just that.  Instantly, I could feel the difference and had relief for the first time in at least 1.5 weeks from the terrible pain.  The longer I sat ‘testing it’, the better it felt.

You see, God healed me of problems with my back that stemmed from the surgery (i.e. scar tissue) years ago so I KNEW that God’s will was NOT for me to be limited in my life by back pain..  I realized that my reaction and expectation when I fell was totally without faith.  It was a completely natural reaction and for someone God hadn’t already touched, understandable.  I should have crawled out of that trench and supernaturally laid claim the healing that had already been provided instead of just accepting the natural consequences/repercussions.

Still, God held my hand and shined a brighter light on this truth.  He did it without anger at my not immediately turning to Him, He did it without shaming me, He did it so that I could live life and live it more abundantly.  He did it, not because I deserved it (hardly!), but because He loves me.  He loves you just the same.

One more quick thing:  if I had not recently participated in a study of Christine Caine’s book Unashamed, I don’t think that I would have clued in to a message saying that I have the same authority as Christ.  God’s timing is perfect!  He pointed me to that study preparing me for the message that Tim was going to give last Sunday.  And by the way, the message was something like 109 in a series on the life of Jesus done chronologically so don’t think this was all coincidental, we have a great God working on the finest details of our lives.  Believe it!

Put Your Baggage Down!

For some time now I have been contemplating how connected healing is to willingness to forgive the source of abuses and painful memories.  The more that I think about their connection, the more that I believe that healing is actually contingent on forgiveness.  If I had not come to a place where I could conceive forgiving the ones responsible for the pain and painful memories – I don’t believe that my heart would have been truly in a place where it could be healed completely.

I have talked with my husband Tim many times about the journey of healing that God is walking with me.  I have said so many times that I wish I could identify steps for people to begin taking so that they too can be on the road to healing instead of stuck in the past – stuck in the pain.  But I couldn’t really identify exactly how or when I began this journey.   I just realized one day that I was walking this road named Forgiveness and that the longer I chose to stay on this same road, the easier the walking became.

Tim’s message this morning was really awesome and was based on the text Philippians 3:10-13.  “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  (Emphasis mine)

Tim also used the text Matthew 6:33 ”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

As he was delivering the message, realization began to flood into my mind and at last I understood how and when my journey started.  When I began to focus more on knowing and pleasing God (straining toward what is ahead) I began to forget what was behind me.  When I began to care more about what I did with God in my life and what God wanted to do with my life – I stopped looking backwards and focusing on the pain that was inflicted on me, on the old wounds that still often festered and infected every part of my life.

Please don’t misunderstand me here.  My memory wasn’t wiped clean.  I didn’t suddenly have a case of amnesia that allowed me to forget all of the bad times in my life.  It was more like a choice that I made, with God’s help, to move the magnifying glass from the dark times over to the good things in my life.  Instead of dwelling in the dark memories I began walking toward new memories – toward what was ahead.

Tim said this morning “The spiritually hungry aren’t hung up in the past; they are anticipating what God has for them now and to come!”  Bingo.  I got hungrier than I have ever been in my life – I was desperate.  I started looking at God instead of looking backwards and suddenly the past began to grow dimmer and dimmer.

He also pointed out that it is vitally important to forget our past identities and move forward.  This particularly struck me…  That would mean that we also have to forget the past identities of those who have abused us or hurt us and move forward.  That is powerful.

If I can’t forgive the abuse and hurts of the past, I cannot move forward.

If I am not constantly straining toward what is ahead by moving forward in Christ, I am bound to look backwards.

We all have baggage in our lives from one thing or another.  Whether yours is/was abuse, financial distress or whatever your baggage may be, God is saying to stop looking at circumstances, stop looking at the past and look at Him, the One who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.  He is inviting you to walk closely with Him looking forward and never backward.

So put your baggage down
there is rest and healing in this place – in Christ.

Rest for the weary

Don’t spend another moment looking into the past and dwelling on the pain that lives there.  Allow God to come to you and flood your life with love and peace and joy.

Thanks for the message honey, once again it got me thinking about how to do things better/differently; it got me thinking about straining for what is ahead and forgetting what is behind.

I have a song floating through my head this afternoon.  I don’t think that it will ever cease to be true and that is okay.  “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.  It took Him a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.  How loving and patient He must be…  He’s still working on me.”  43 years and counting…

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.  Any personal messages that I receive will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

Standing on the Promises

Today’s sermon really struck me and I just feel the need to write down my thoughts somewhere.  Tim talked about the Israelites’ time in the desert (titled Warning Against Unbelief).

Some things that really hit me:

  1. What should have only taken a few months took 40 years because of unbelief.
  2. The people were stuck somewhere between bondage and freedom.
  3. The trouble started simply by people murmuring against Moses/God.  The murmuring led to self-reliance and finally disobedience.
  4. The people had no clear purpose, just existence.
  5. They began to put belief in things that don’t satisfy.
  6. Unbelief caused them to:
    a.  distrust God’s faithfulness

    b.  not realize that the very God who delivered them ‘out’ of bondage would deliver them ‘in’ the promise that He had made

    c.  not follow God where He leads

Look closely at number 3?  The trouble started simply by people murmuring – complaining.  Such a simple thing led to people dying without ever receiving what had been promised to them.  I might have been subtitled to the sermon ‘Watch Your Mouth’.

The people were consumed with the present rather than the promise.  They were too focused on their circumstances to remember that after many miracles, God had just parted the Red Sea delivering them out of Egyptian bondage and He surely could overcome anything else in their way.

A few statements that I liked:

  • When times are tough let the words of our mouths alert you to the condition of your heart.
  • When you face challenges, you either grow in independence or grow in your faith/reliance on God.
  • “Those who no longer trust God to bring satisfaction to their lives tend to imagine satisfaction coming in other ways, but it is vain imagination.” -TJL
  • Intellectual assent to the gospel with a lack of faith turns life into a desert.

The song that we used to sing at church when I was a little girl is ringing in my ears and I will grab hold of it and won’t look back.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,

resting in my Savior as my all in all,
standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
standing on the promises of Christ my Savior;

standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

I don’t want to be guilty of unbelief in any area of my life…

I wonder how many of us are in a self-induced desert.  How many people are looking so much at our circumstances that we simply forget that our God is a God of miracles, He owns the cattle of 1000 hills, He is the Alpha and the Omega.  If we simply keep our eyes on Him believing the promises given, we can go into that Promised Land.

Anyone want to stand with me?

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below.

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