Activation Movement Blog
- Women of Noble Character
As I was seeking guidance from the Lord recently on direction and purpose for my life, He led me to read the book of Proverbs. While I was reminded of some great wisdom like not making hasty decisions, the value of hard work, and the pursuit of "ill-gotten treasures," the last chapter is what God really intended for me to see:
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character (Proverbs 31:10-31)
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I have to admit that it broke from my view of the "traditional" role of women during Bible times, and it revealed to me that I don't have to bear the burden of making life decisions or providing for my family alone. God intended for my marriage to be a partnership with a strong woman of "noble character," which I fortunately already have with an amazing wife who is doing everything Proverbs 31 describes!
My wife works full-time, waking up "while it is still night" to get everyone ready for work and school, before she heads off to work herself. She is an incredibly hard worker who is always productive in everything she does, and helps guide me in making good decisions for our family. And in my selfish focus on what "I" need to be doing with the next phase of my life, I had forgotten that with a wife of noble character, I don't have to do it alone. I need to take advantage of God's gift of a spouse and partner who has strengths I don't have, and I should be a better steward of the "earnings" she is bringing into the family, whether it's a job or the work she does at home.
As Proverbs so rightly says, having a woman of noble character brings honor to her husband, and he should be honoring her for what she is doing to prosper the family. If you are stuck in your purpose or what's next for you, what women in your life can you be leaning on for guidance and support? I'm thankful for the many women of noble character that God has blessed me with, including my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, cousins, aunts, co-workers, and friends who have given me wisdom and shown me the value of hard work, and in some cases doing all the work, to provide a good life for their families.
Are you honoring and seeking wisdom from your "women of noble character'?
- Discounting Your Children
02/09/2019"When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed stands before the Lord. But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." -1 Samuel 16:6-7When my oldest son got into his preschool years, we started getting feedback from teachers that he was behind developmentally. As a parent we typically see nothing but the amazing things our child is doing as he or she grows, and how "brilliant" they appear to be for their age. But then reality can sink in when they are grouped with other kids, and teachers who have seen hundreds of kids come through their classes see their strengths and weaknesses, and paint a more realistic picture.
Year after year, we had somber meetings with teachers and staff, as they expressed concern over our son's development, both academically and socially. He was held back in kindergarten, and even then his scores were lower than average. I had always done well in school, so this whole experience was foreign to me. I was just happy to see him get a passing grade on a test, much less an A or B. Instead of eagerly anticipating reports from school on his academic and social achievements, I was relieved if we didn't hear anything for a period of time, because no news was good news.
One night a few years ago, as I was thinking about my kids' futures and resigning myself to my oldest son's mediocrity (at best), God said to me, "Don't discount your son. I have special plans for him too!"
It was both an encouragement and admonition as I realized that I had discounted my son. It didn't mean I loved him any less or that I wasn't going to do everything I could to give him the best life possible. But I had given up hope for a bright future based on how the world saw my son, and I had accepted it.
Thankfully, his Creator, the One who gave my son life and an exciting future filled with a powerful destiny and amazing adventures, never discounted him. As much as a parent can (and should) have a positive influence on a child's life, and God wants us to steward our children well, He doesn't need us to fulfill His purpose for our children. We can look at examples of people from all walks of life, with both good and bad parents, easy or hard situations, come into God's purpose for their lives because of the individual relationships they pursued with God, and more importantly, God's pursuit of them.
Since that message from God, I'm happy to report that my son is doing great in school, and socially with many friends, as he is developing into who God created him to be. And last year he asked to be baptized and accepted Jesus as Lord! I can't say that I'm doing much if anything to contribute to his current success, so I know that God is at work in my son in ways I'll never know. And I'm comforted knowing that a Father who knows and loves my son even more than I do is in control of his destiny, and I'm just here to help steward him on the journey.
I hope this message serves two purposes - first, to make sure you don't discount your children. If you see your kids the way God sees them, you wouldn't ever have a need or desire to do so. And secondly, if you grew up in a home where your parents discounted you, or favored another sibling over you, know that your future isn't determined by your earthly parents. It's determined by God your Father, His Son Jesus who saw so much value in you that he chose to die for you, and the Holy Spirit that is excited to fill you with His presence and guide you into your destiny as a child of the King!"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." - Romans 8:28-29
- The Dangers of Significance
This article was originally posted as a guest blog for John W. Nichols, missionary and author of GOD is HERE: Finding God in the Pain of a Broken World. Thanks to John for allowing me to contribute to his blog!"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." - Psalm 139:23-24Let's start this blog with a quiz. Which of these four postures of relating to God is the right one:
A) Life Under God - God is happy or mad, depending on my performance.
B) Life Above God - My way is better than God's.
C) Life From God - I want God's benefits, but I'm not really interested in Him.
D) Life For God - I have a need to be significant and to do something great for God.
(Taken from the book, "With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God" by Skye Jethani)When I was first asked this question in a training session I attended at my church, I knew the obvious answer was D. After being "activated" into more with God and experiencing incredible healing miracles, connections, and spiritual encounters, I was on fire for God. I was on a mission to tell everyone I knew about this amazing God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit that had transformed my life, and I couldn't wait to return the favor by doing important things for the Kingdom. I was going to be a general in His army, sharing the gospel and making God proud of me.
The problem is none of these postures are correct, even the desire to live a life for God. Because if I really searched my heart, I was motivated by what these significant accomplishments were going to do for ME, either in this earthly life or as a reward in heaven.
God's greatest desire is just to be WITH us. And when you think about it from a parent's perspective, it makes sense. If one of my sons asked me what he needed to do for me to love him more, I would quickly say, "Nothing, I already love you unconditionally." If my kids spent their life feeling a need to do something significant to achieve my love, I would tell them they have it all wrong If a flawed, earthly father feels this way, how much more does our perfect heavenly Father, who gave his only Son to be with us for eternity?
Pastor Robert Morris from Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, put it another way in a recent sermon. He talked about the four stages of spiritual maturity:
- Give Me
- Use Me
- Search Me
- Make Me
It's also important to note that being at various stages of spiritual maturity is not an admonition that you are doing something wrong. I don't criticize a two year old for what they do at that age; I just help guide them into maturity at their pace of development and do my part to accelerate their maturity where it's needed. God's view of where you are in your walk is no different - He wants to see that you are making an effort to grow in maturity, and will step in to guide you when it appears you need help.
It's human nature to focus on ourselves, reinforced by the world's view of having to do something important or significant to achieve success, to be liked or admired by others, or to have a following. Fortunately for us, we can be free of this pressure and released from the dangers of significance by surrendering to God, making Jesus the Lord of our lives, and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us into spiritual maturity. Chase after the heart of God, and you'll find the only thing of real significance - relationship with Him.Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourselfDream your dreams, chase your heart, above all elseMake a name the world remembersBut all an empty world can sell is empty dreamsI got lost in the light when it was up to meTo make a name the world remembersBut Jesus is the only name to rememberAnd I, I don't want to leave a legacyI don't care if they remember meOnly JesusFrom the song "Only Jesus" by Casting Crowns
- Saved Just For You
01/31/2019"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." - Jeremiah 1:5When I wrote my first book, "Activation," the title came to mind as the best way to describe what happened to me when God flipped the switch on my life and "activated" me for service in the Kingdom. As a reminder, the definition of Activation is:
- The process whereby something is prepared or excited for a subsequent reaction
- To accelerate a reaction, as by heat
- To set in motion
- Making active or effective
- Putting an individual or unit on active (military) duty
I named my ministry the "Activation Movement" as I wanted to create a movement of others experiencing the fullness of relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. And since that time, I've seen others in ministry using the word "activation" to describe the jump start for more that we should all desire as we seek our Triune God.
Later in the journey as I was on a walk one day, I was thinking about my ministry and how it could be used, when I heard God say, "I saved that name for you!" It blew me away that God knows each of us intimately and saves assignments, business or ministry names, our spouses and children, and more, just for us!
To confirm this message from God, I met Robby Dawkins, a well known pastor and author, who happened to move to my neighborhood in Texas. When I told him about my own book, he was blown away, as he had told his publisher that he wanted to call his book, "Activation"! His publisher recommended a book title that was better aligned to the titles of his other books, allowing me to have a book and ministry with a unique name in the Christian community. God really had saved that name for me!
So my question for you is, what opportunities, businesses, ministries, relationships, and more does God have planned just for you? We are all unique in God's eyes, with a special purpose in the grand unfolding of history. God planned for our creation and existence in the world at the exact, pre-planned time that He intended. Ask God what unique opportunities He has placed in His plan for your life, and take advantage of the blessings that God has saved JUST FOR YOU!"My frame was not hidden from youwhen I was made in the secret place,when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed body;all the days ordained for me were written in your bookbefore one of them came to be."- Psalm 139:15-16
- Adam Gellert
- I Just Want You
12/28/2018"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth, and does not live in temples made by human hands. Nor is He served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else." - Acts 17:34-25I was sitting on the balcony of my mother-in-law's condo on the Florida coast, watching the sun rise over boats motoring across the causeway and birds sailing overhead. I prayed in the spirit (in tongues) and invited God's presence. I saw a vision of angels gathering around me in prayer, so I released them to their spiritual assignments in the heavenly realms. Opening my hands to receive His presence, I felt a surge of energy and heat flowing through my hands.
In that perfect moment, feeling the amazing love in God's presence, I wanted so badly to do something for God, so I asked Him, "What do you want or need from me?" He replied, "Son, I just want you."
What a freeing statement - to know that God wants nothing more than a relationship with us. Even though this revelation should be obvious when you think about it, we all get caught in the trap of humanity, where our worth is measured by our performance and accomplishments. For example, when Jesus was transfigured in front of Peter, James, and John, and Elijah and Moses appeared to talk with Jesus, Peter's reaction was to say, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." Peter did this because "they were all so terrified that Peter did not know what else to say." (Mark 9:5-6)
This shows us that our natural human tendency is to do something instead of what God really wants, which is just to be with us. When you think about your own children, wouldn't you react the same way? Aren't your favorite moments with your children the times when they just wanted to sit your lap and be held? And if one of them asked you, "What do you need or want from me?", wouldn't you also just want them to stay still and remain in your arms? Instead, we get up from God's presence and go about our tasks of doing to obtain favor from God, when all He wanted was to hold us a little longer.
The spirit of the Antichrist wants us to be caught up in doing versus being, and it causes us to be drawn to the false religions that exist today. Reinhard Bonnke, a well-know evangelist, said this, "When I stand up to preach the Gospel, I often preach to people who have no idea who God is, because they worship idols, very terrible idols. They spread the table for their gods. And I tell them, the Christian God does it the other way around - He spreads the table for His children. And in the other religions, the people always seek God, but in the Christian faith, God seeks man."
Christians can just as easily get trapped in a religion of doing versus being, as we think ritual or works gets us into right relationship with God. But we'll never be good enough on our own to be in right standing with God - only Jesus, who became sin for us on the cross, can bridge the gap and bring us to the Father in good standing.
Jesus has already done everything needed to bring you into relationship with the Father. So free yourself from the expectation that God needs or wants something from you - He just wants you!"Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but my ears You have opened. Burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not require. Then I said, "Here I am, I have come - it it written about me in the scroll: I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart." - Psalm 40:6-7- Adam Gellert
- The Living God - A Guest Blog by John W. Nichols
12/15/2018A guest blog from friend and author John W. Nichols:Once again, I’ve come to the realization that I need Jesus. It’s times like these I’m comforted by the fact I worship the living God—He who speaks, sees, hears, smells, feels, and walks. But I have to confess I often act as if He isn’t present or interested. I lay down at night too many times having settled with rote prayers and not giving Him room in the conversation. If you too ever fall into this, would you pray with me?“I’m sorry, God, for making You interrupt me instead of seeking You. When I call, I will remember You answer.”Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
They have eyes, but they cannot see;
They have ears, but they cannot hear;
They have noses, but they cannot smell;
They have hands, but they cannot feel;
They have feet, but they cannot walk;
They cannot make a sound with their throat.
Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trusts in them.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the Lord,
The small together with the great.
May the Lord give you increase,
You and your children.
May you be blessed of the Lord,
Maker of heaven and earth.—Psalm 115:4-8, 11-15 NASBI need Him right now and I know I’m not alone in this. I need His whisper of direction. I need to look in His eyes and see Him nod while listening to my prayer. I need to hear the woosh of His breath as He inhales my fragrant offering of worship. I need to lay on His chest, like the disciple Jesus loved, and know He feels my adoration. I need Him to run with me in excitement. I need the living God.Some things that get in our way from experiencing God:
- We do all the talking. We don’t do this with our personal relationships, we shouldn’t do it to God either.
- We don’t listen because we know what we want Him to say or we think we wouldn’t like what He has to say. God’s plans are what’s best for us. Even when we don’t know it or feel it—we want what He desires for us.
- If we’re honest, we don’t make an effort to seek Him, wait on Him, and listen. It’s not enough to say a daily prayer at night or read a one year Bible plan or devotional. It takes a sacrifice of time to seek God with a genuine heart.
The living God wants to interact with us, and we desperately need Him to. For those who want more on this topic along with practical tips, I’ve recorded a 40-minute teaching on communing with Jesus, the ways He speaks, and walking in His plans for your life. It’s called "God is Trying to Tell You Something" and you can get it free here.John W. NicholsAuthor of GOD is HERE: Finding God in the Pain of a Broken World. Get the FREE audiobook and ebook here.
- He Is Not Your Friend - Dealing With Demonic Spirits
12/01/2018"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." - Joel 2:32The depression and negativity set in slowly. Like anything that happens gradually, I didn't realize I was trapped in it until the chains were too thick and strong to get out of them easily. As I allowed myself to be convinced of the lies about my worth, my purpose, my relationship with God, the goodness of God, and any hope for the future, I woke up one day wondering how long it's been like this. I couldn't point to the time when I was happy, or was I ever happy? Maybe it's always been there.
And strangely, the depression provided comfort. I could physically feel it blanketing me like a cloak. And it's okay that it's there, because I'm not to blame for my circumstances - God did this, or my boss, or my spouse, or my parents. Or if it was my fault, what could I do about it now? I was winning at some point there, but life happened, and now any hope for getting out of this situation is circling the drain. Like Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, "Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless!" At least I have heaven to look forward to, so I guess I'll just bide my time with the hand I've been dealt until I reach that place of bliss.
Despite the amazing things that I had been blessed with in my life, all the books I'd read, the freedom classes and programs I'd attended, the songs I heard on the radio every day, and the Word of God I read regularly, this is the place I'd found myself in.
But then I saw a video on YouTube titled, "How Demons Can Cause Negative Thinking" and decided to check it out. Derek Prince, a pastor who specialized in deliverance ministry until his passing in 2003, had a similar period of depression that he couldn't shake, despite prayer and fasting, and reading the Word. To become free, he found Isaiah 61:3's reference to putting on "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," and learned that 80% of the battle is realizing that his depression came from a person (demon), not himself. There are some areas of bondage that originate from our earthly flesh and sin nature, but many times a demon is responsible for the onslaught of negative emotions - depression, anger, loneliness, fear - that we allow into our thought life. And if we permit those negative emotions to take root through agreement, it can take us down a dangerous path.
The other 20% of the way to deliverance comes from calling on the name of the Lord (Joel 2:32). So as Derek led the audience in prayer, I prayed his prayer along with them:"Lord Jesus Christ, I believe you are the son of God and the only way to God. That you died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead. I now confess to you any sins for which you have made me conscious, and for all sins committed by my ancestors. (Confess any sins the Holy Spirit brings to your mind). Lord, I repent of all sins I have ever committed. I hate them and I turn from them. I turn to you Lord Jesus for mercy and forgiveness.If I have been involved in the occult, I repent and I renounce it. I severe myself from it through the blood of Jesus. If I have occult objects in my possession, I commit myself to get rid of them.Lord, I forgive any person who has ever harmed or wronged me. I forgive them, just as you forgive me. (Name the persons you need to forgive. The one that is hardest is the one you most need to say.).Lord, to the best of my ability, I have met your conditions and I now claim your promise: "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be delivered." I am calling on you now. In the name of the Lord Jesus, deliver me from all evil spirits. I hate them. They are not my friends. They are my enemies and I command them to go from me now, in the name of Jesus."
Praying over the audience in commanding the demons present to leave, Derek said something I had never heard before: "He is not your friend. You hate him. He has to go. Get out!"
What a strange thing to say! Of course he is not your friend. But the following morning, while driving to work, I went into my place of depression as I prepared for another difficult day of work. And I felt myself "putting on a cloak" as I mentally shifted into my now familiar state of depression. But something interesting happened - it wasn't there! I could physically feel that it was gone, and from everything I had heard the night before in the video, it all suddenly made sense. It was a spirit that I had allowed to become part of my identity, even if it was destructive. And it was surprisingly difficult to let go - I even found myself "missing" the feeling when I realized it was gone, because it was an easy excuse to remain in my present situation. This aligns to other accounts of demonic oppression I had read about, where the first step in casting out the spirit is that the person has to want it to leave.
Do you have any demonic spirits that have become part of your identity? Demons with names like Anger, Depression, Fear, Rebellion, Pride, Loneliness, or Rejection? Or maybe they are "familiar" spirits that have been passed on to you from your family line with a history of addiction, mental illness, or dealing with the occult. Pray the prayer I shared above, and tell it to go. He is not your friend. You hate him. And invite your true friend, the Holy Spirit, to come into that space in it's place, so you can experience the fullness of joy in Christ.
(For more resources and help with your freedom journey, visit Gateway Church's Freedom page here.You can also view Derek Prince's deliverance video in Part 1 and Part 2, or contact me for any other help you may need!)"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."- 2 Corinthians 3:17- Adam Gellert
- Hating God
10/29/2018"Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their evil deeds will be exposed." - John 3:30"I hate you!"
Most of us can relate to this statement. We remember saying this as teenagers when our parents grounded us, or did anything else that took away our budding independence. Or we experience hearing this now with our own children, as they react to decisions we make for their own good, and we try to keep them on the right path through correction.
Or maybe while you wouldn't want to admit it to others or even yourself, you hate God, because you didn't have parents that cared enough to correct you. You blame God for giving you parents that never showed love in their actions or decisions. They hurt you spiritually and physically. They got divorced and you felt abandoned. Even if there is a God, you don't want anything to do with Him because He wasn't there for you when you needed Him. You had faith for healing but saw your child die anyway. You lost your job and are struggling to find your purpose. You tried going to church but were hurt by church leaders and members. You see the world crumbling around you with death, war, and destruction, and don't see how God can sit idly by while it all falls apart.
But if you hate God right now, you may be closer to Him than you realize! Hate means to "feel intense or passionate dislike for someone." By feeling like you hate God, you are at least acknowledging His existence and influence in your life. You were created with a mind, will, and emotions, so God is not afraid of your feelings of anger or hatred. He desires relationship with someone who is passionate rather than apathetic or indifferent.
Something (or someone) is whispering lies to you about who God is. It may be yourself and your resistance to giving up control over your own life. It may be the devil causing you to question God's goodness in an imperfect world. Or the enemy of your soul is telling you that whatever hope there was, God would not want you now because of how you feel about Him. It's too late, you're too far gone.
But no matter how you feel about God right now, He has a different view of you. He only sees His son or daughter and wants you home with Him. He has this to say to you, taken from the song "Times" by Tenth Avenue North:My love is over, it's underneath,it's inside, it's in between.The times you doubt me, when you can't feel,the times that you question: "is this for real?"The times you're broken, the times that you mend,the times you hate me, and the times that you bend.My love is over, it's underneath,it's inside, it's in between.The times you're healing, and when your heart breaks,the times that you feel like you've fallen from grace.The times you're hurting, the times that you heal,the times you go hungry and are tempted to steal.In times of confusion, in chaos and pain,I'm there in the sorrow, under the weight of your shame.I'm there through your heartache, I'm there in the storm,My love I will keep you, by my power alone.I don't care where you've fallen, or where you have been,I'll never forsake you, my love never ends.It never ends...As we reflect back on how we reacted as a teenager, or when you see this today with your own children, you know it was just a matter of maturity. When you got older, and especially when you have your own children, you can see things from your parents' perspective - that they corrected you out of love for you and to try to keep you safe from others or yourself. Or if you didn't have parents who treated you with the love you deserve, it's time to reach out to a Father who can show you what a real parent's love is like.
If you are in a place of anger and hate, I would venture to guess that whatever you are doing isn't working, and never will. It's time to turn from hate to something better, to love. God is not afraid of how you feel about Him. It may be uncomfortable and you may find resistance to surrendering to someone else, resistance from yourself or something that's holding you back. But reach out and ask for God's hand, and discover a path to love through his son Jesus Christ, the "way, the truth, and the life.""For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:38-39-Adam Gellert
- Strengthen Your Position
10/06/2018"Strengthen your position and see what must be done,because next spring the king of Aram shall attack you again!" - 1 Kings 20:22Over the last few years I have discovered the writings of several amazing church leaders that helped usher in the charismatic movement of the 1970s, including Agnes Sanford, Francis MacNutt, and Catherine Marshall. In reading Catherine Marshall's book, Adventures in Prayer, originally published in 1975, I noticed an advertisement in the back of the book for an intercessory prayer team founded by Ms. Marshall called "Breakthrough."Even though Catherine Marshall died in 1983, I looked up the organization on the Internet and was surprised to see that this ministry still exists today. Processing over 100,000 prayer requests annually, a team of nearly 4,000 intercessors prays individually for the anonymous prayer requests of six people at a time for 21 consecutive days, then rotates to another group of prayer requests.Regardless of whether you are on a prayer team or just spend time in prayer yourself, prayer is an essential part of the Christian walk and in strengthening the church body. When you take time to pray, you are engaging in battle with the enemy in the spiritual realms, and you need to be prepared for battle. The most recent letter I received from Breakthrough's Chairman, Brian Wells, was one I want to share with you here as you enter into battle through prayer:"The stories of battles in the Old Testament aren't only historical accounts. They also point to greater truths, showing how God works in everyday life and providing analogies for spiritual warfare. I recently read the following admonition in 1 Kings 20:22:Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram shall attack you again!I noticed God gave His people three instructions that apply to praying believers today:1. Strengthen Your Position: Jesus defeated the devil by knowing the Word of God. We must do the same. We must sow God's truth into our hearts by memorizing it, and confessing it with our mouths during times of peace. Then, when trials and temptations come, we will be equipped to speak truth against the enemy's "fiery darts" (Ephesians 6:16).2. See What Must Be Done: The Holy Spirit grants us wisdom in every area of our lives. As we seek Him and cultivate a relationship through prayer, worship, and the Word, the Holy Spirit will reveal His will in every situation, showing us His strategies for defeating the devil's attacks.3. Be Ready For the Next Attack: Why should we spend time seeking God? So we won't be caught sleeping! We must be not only ready for the enemy's attacks - and they will come - but we must proactively prepare for them. Don't wait for the test or trial to come. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," Jesus tells us, His disciples (Matthew 26:41). Get on the offensive, and take back what the devil wants to steal from you! Decree the spirit of slumber and stupor is leaving now!"I hope this will encourage each of you in your prayer life, or help you begin to seek God in prayer if you aren't doing so today. And if you are looking to make an even bigger impact on others through prayer, I would encourage you to join your church's prayer team, or visit intercessors.org to join the Breakthrough team!"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." - James 5:16- Adam Gellert
- The Power of Threes
06/15/2018"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." - 2 Peter 3:8I took a course on "Emotional Intelligence" at work recently, and the facilitator introduced a way for people to reduce stress from difficult situations they are facing. He called it the "Power of Threes."
Basically the concept is to go out in time in increments of threes, to evaluate whether the situation you are in today will still be of importance that far out in time. For example, he told the story of going to the airport with a colleague after a long week and looking forward to finally getting back home. Their flight was cancelled at the last minute, and they had to spend another night away from home with a re-booked flight not being available until the following morning.
As they were driving away from the airport and their frustration and anger started to well up inside, the facilitator said to his colleague, "This may be a good time to practice the Power of Threes." They then asked each other these questions:
The point is that if you go far enough out in time, there aren't too many things we encounter in our daily lives that should cause us concern and worry, as it will be something of the past over time.While I love this concept in dealing with most situations, I also cynically thought to myself, "But what about losing loved ones like the twins I lost at birth - it still hurts and always will. I guess this theory doesn't apply to everything..."But that's when God revealed the truth, and I quickly realized I was wrong. In the view of eternity, even deep loss will be erased from our memories. When I'm in heaven with my entire family, with everyone I've ever lost over my lifetime, I'll get to spend eternity in communion with all of them, as well as in the healing presence my Creator. And three hundred years from now, three thousand years from now, and three million years from now, all of the pain we experienced in this life on Earth will be forgotten. Take comfort in this amazing truth in whatever you are going through today, and with whoever you may have lost and desire to be with again!"Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not wane; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will be over." - Isaiah 60:20-Adam Gellert
- How are we going to feel about this three minutes from now? (We're still going to be pretty upset.)
- How are we going to feel about this three hours from now? (We will be stuck in a hotel we don't want to be in and still be frustrated.)
- How are we going to feel about this three days from now? (We'll be home, and while still raw, we will start feeling better now that we're out of the situation.)
- How are we going to feel about this three months from now? (It will be forgotten in our day-to-day routine, but it might come up if something triggers a memory of it.)
- How are we going to feel about this three years from now? (We'll probably forget it even happened and it will be a distant memory.)
- Parker Memorial
"Wait, you have two babies in there!"
I'll never forget that moment of shock when the nurse told my wife and I that we were having twins. After almost five years of infertility struggles and all of the pain and suffering that came with it, we had finally had our first child, Emerson, and were now being blessed with an unexpected multiplication of children less than a year later. Walking out of the room in a daze, it was both overwhelming and exciting at the same time.
Several weeks later, we learned that we were having a boy and a girl, exactly what we hoped would happen. Emerson would get to have a brother to play with, and I would get to experience having a daughter, after growing up with a brother myself and not knowing what it was like to have a girl in the family. I watched in amazement as two babies moved around on the monitor during our checkups, yawning and sucking thumbs. We were rock stars at family gatherings, as neither side of the family had any twins, and I swelled with pride as all of God's promises were coming to pass in even greater ways. Everything was going to work out perfectly!
But then, at 19 weeks, things took an unexpected turn, and my wife ended up in the hospital with contractions. I had the utmost confidence that after all we had gone through, there was no way God would allow us to lose these babies. A family friend had prophesied we would have three kids before she even knew we had two more on the way, further convincing me it would all work out. We had faith like never before, declaring with boldness that the contractions would stop. But after several days of ups and downs, we reached a point of no return as my wife's water broke. She would have to deliver the babies through the normal labor and delivery process, knowing our children wouldn't survive.
I remember seeing them on the sonogram monitor that last time, alive and active, and I was madly in love with those children I had never met. And now I had to move forward with no hope, sitting by my wife with eyes squeezed shut as first my daughter, then my son came into the world, took a few breaths of life, and passed into eternity with God. It was all I could muster in that moment to whisper a quick prayer, "Father, I commit these children to you."
Still numb from the pain of this loss only a month later, we learned that my wife was, incredibly, pregnant yet again. The reaction was more fear than excitement, validated by the ensuing struggle to keep our son alive for much of the pregnancy. My wife was on bed rest most of the time, and we had a few moments of panic as she had to go to the hospital with contractions, hoping we wouldn't suffer yet another unbearable loss.
Miraculously my son, whom we named Seth, made it into the world, albeit with some difficulty and time in intensive care. In naming him, we gave him the middle name "Parker" because we liked the name from my wife's family line. With two boys and the feeling our family was complete, that was our last attempt at having children.
Soon thereafter, we were relocated to another city, and had never gotten up the courage to visit our twins' grave site where their ashes were scattered. Returning to the area a few years later, we decided to dig through our box of keepsakes and locate the site.
It was then that we were shocked to see the name of the cemetery - Parker Memorial!
Through all the pain, all the suffering, God shined a light through the darkness, showing me a connection that confirmed He was there all along, through it all. It didn't lessen the pain - as with any loss, the pain will never go away. We all just want comfort in the loss, for our Father to hold us and cry with us.
Whoever said time heals all wounds must have never lost a child. Time doesn't heal wounds - only Jesus can. And the only thing I can hold onto is the hope Jesus gives me in an eternity not only with Him, but also with two children I never got to know in this lifetime.
I am saddened to see people fall away from belief in God because of tragedies they experience, either personally or when they see death come from a terrorist, war, or natural disaster. We need to realize that God loves other people more than we do, even our own children. They were a gift to us no matter how long they were with us. And if we take the eternal view of our lives, all of the pain suffered in this life will quickly become a distant memory, as everyone we ever knew or loved are with us in heaven, giving glory to God for making all things new, for drying every tear.
I was awakened to the sound of my twins playing one night - I knew in my spirit it was them, and was comforted knowing they are happy. If you are hurting from the loss of a child, know they are experiencing true joy and peace, and you will be reunited soon. Take a step forward, make the best of what God has given you in this life, and look forward to a time when all will be made right, with a God who turns all ashes into beauty.
All I ask of you today is to keep trusting God, and allow his promise of "hope, and a future." There's a light shining in the distance - it's the presence of God with an indescribable warmth and radiating love. Your loved ones are already enveloped in this powerful reality, and you are getting closer to "home" each day! In the meantime, enjoy your life with faith, hope, and love, and ask God for peace only He can bring to those who grieve."Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is etermal." - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18- Adam Gellert
- Your Salvation is Assured
03/19/2018"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9I've been on an incredible journey of discovery with God. But climbing the mountain of faith isn't an easy bike ride on a paved surface - as we climb up the mountain, we slip on some of the rocks and fall back down, only to struggle back up the path again. After growing in faith and relationship with Him, I began to get frustrated with how things were going in my work life, and not seeing the fruit I had been anticipating in obedience to His direction. I stopped spending daily quiet time with God as I had started doing two years before, and generally made the decision to "check out" of the intensity and passion I had been experiencing to that point.As you would expect, this opened the door of opportunity, and the devil swooped in with attacks on my thought life. I started wondering if falling away like this put my salvation at risk. What if I died right now and had to face God? Would I still go to heaven? Or would I be angrily cast out for my weak faith and lack of obedience?A month went by, and I gathered up the courage to go back to my journal and seek God's voice yet again. The first thing He said was, "Your salvation is assured. You need to quit worrying about that."Wow! He knew and addressed my biggest concern and tackled it head on. And it brought such peace and relief, not only in the moment, but in knowing and being assured of eternity with the Father, regardless of how I may temporarily behave during the ups and downs of life.Shortly after that, I was serving with the team I volunteer with at church, when the team gathered for some prayer time. The leader started by telling us she felt God wanted to share an important message - our salvation is assured! As she walked through Scripture to support this truth, I sat shaking my head as I was once again amazed at the confirmation God gave me of his earlier message.Why is our salvation assured? Because it's not about us, and the actions we take, that give us salvation in the first place. Jesus Christ is the key to our salvation - he bought us at a price when He died for us on the cross, and His blood washes us clean in God's eyes. To think anything we do can either save us, or condemn us, after being sealed by Christ's salvation, is an insult to Jesus and the cross He bore for us. God looks past our sins and views us as righteous because He sees Jesus in us. The devil doesn't want us living in this Truth, because it gives us freedom and allows us to be empowered as children of God. If we are in constant fear that our continual sin puts our salvation at risk, it leaves us as prisoners of our sin and negates the power of Christ.This doesn't mean we can continue to go on willfully sinning either. As Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:26-27, "For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries." Accepting Jesus as Lord of our lives means dying to self, and the natural desire to sin. We will continue to slip as human beings, but our standing as sons and daughters gives us a new desire to please God, by allowing Him to work through the Holy Spirit to remove our desire to sin. "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit" (Romans 8:5).Have you done something that you feel separates you from the love of God? Do you doubt your salvation? Are you living in bondage out of fear that you have to be perfect to achieve salvation and the reward of eternity with Jesus? Be released from this burden today by placing your trust and faith in Jesus - and rest knowing your salvation is assured!"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." - John 10:27-30- Adam Gellert
- What's In It For Me?
"These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." - Hebrews 11:39-40
In the movie "Field of Dreams," the main character, Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice while walking in his Iowa cornfield. The voice says, "If you build it, he will come," and Ray sees a vision of a baseball field and the deceased ballplayer Shoeless Joe Jackson. Assuming this means Shoeless Joe Jackson will appear if he builds a baseball field, Ray is obedient to this strange calling, in spite of financial difficulty he is already having at his farm and the ramifications of this request.
As other farmers watch in shock and he becomes the joke of the community, Ray tears up much of his revenue-producing farmland to build a baseball field, putting him and his family into near bankruptcy. Shoeless Joe Jackson and other deceased ballplayers do appear at the field, and Ray hears more instruction from the voice that guides him on an incredible journey across the United States.
The problem is, all of the voice's instructions are benefiting others, while Ray and his family are suffering severe financial loss. Since others can't see the deceased ballplayers, everyone thinks Ray and his family are crazy, and his brother-in-law moves to foreclose on the property. When a person Ray brings to the field at the instruction of the voice gets invited by Shoeless Joe to see what lies on the other side of the field, Ray finally shows his frustration and asks why he doesn't get to go. Shoeless Joe calmly answers, "Because you weren't invited."
Ray, very angry at this point, says, "I've done everything I've been asked to do. I didn't understand it but I've done it. And I've never once asked what's in it for me. What's in it for me?"
Shoeless Joe then asks, "Is that why you did this - for you?" It stops Ray dead in his tracks, and you can see the look of guilt during the awkward silence as he realizes the selfishness he's had all along in pursuing this Field of Dreams. While on the surface it appeared that Ray was being a risk-taking, obedient servant of the voice, helping ballplayers and others live out their dreams, he was secretly waiting to see what was in all of this for himself.
This is such an important revelation and checkpoint for all of us in our walk with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As you seek a closer relationship with the Trinity, you may be asked to do things that don't make sense. You may be asked to help people in unique ways. You may be given assignments to evangelize to others, preach the Gospel, or heal the sick. But even if you are obedient to these assignments, what motivates you to do so is equally important. Are you really being obedient so you can serve others and show God's love to the world, or are you being driven by the potential rewards for doing so?
Of course God promises blessings to those who are obedient to His calling, but they don't always look like what you expect. His blessings may impact your children, or your grandchildren, or other people you may never meet or know. You may never see the full fruits of your obedience in your lifetime. The key is trusting God when asked to take on an assignment, regardless of what's in it for you.
In the end, Ray does get an unexpected benefit as he learns that it's really his deceased father who will come if he builds the field, and a father and son get to experience reconciliation in a tearful ending. But the bigger lesson for Ray, and for all of us, is that we should always joyfully obey our Father's instruction regardless of what's in it for us.
Jesus was the ultimate example of this when he willingly died on the cross at God's instruction, without asking, "What's in it for me?" And mankind benefited most of all when we inherited eternal life through Jesus.
So what's in it for us? That's the beauty of Christ - we've already received the free gift of redemption and eternal life in heaven with Him if we accept Jesus as our Savior. Our job is then to simply "go and make disciples," bringing others to the real Field of Dreams - an eternal relationship with God our Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit!Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Mark 10:42-45- Adam Gellert
- Black Like Me
01/16/2018"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female,for you are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3:28First of all, I have to admit I've spent my entire life as what the world would see as a rich white guy. I grew up in the most affluent area of Dallas, Texas. My high school did not have one black student registered there when I attended, so I was not exposed to much diversity there. But in middle school, I had an experience that forever changed my view on race, and caused me to pursue a better understanding of and compassion for people who may be viewed as different from me.I went to a Boy Scout camp that summer, and there was a buzz in the camp of mostly white kids, when we learned that a troop of black kids was also there. One white troop was particularly bothered by this "intrusion," and made a public spectacle of berating and harassing this group of black kids every chance they got. I heard about fights breaking out between these two troops all week long, and personally witnessed this horrific behavior several times when we all gathered as a camp for events.In a moment that will forever burn in my memory, we were all together for a rodeo event at the camp (this is Texas after all), and I was sitting by myself in the bleachers when one of the kids from the black troop was looking for a seat, and sat down next to me. He turned to me and asked, "Is it okay if I sit here?", testing the waters to see if I was one of the kids who would give him a hard time. The entire concept of discrimination was so foreign to me, that I quickly welcomed him to have a seat. But I also recall thinking to myself in that moment, "Why are people being treated like this? How can it be that a person doesn't feel welcome to sit next to another person because of the color of their skin?"The last night in camp, there was what I would call a "race war." Troops across the camp split into two factions, one supporting the black troop and the other supporting the "white supremacist" troop. I didn't go out that night, but heard horrible stories of fights that occurred across the camp.When I returned from camp that week, I was a changed person. I read every book I could find on the Civil Rights Movement, and found an incredible book called "Black Like Me", about a white man who took medication that turned his skin dark, so he could go undercover and see what it was like to live as a black man in the Southern United States. Every book report I had to write and present in school was about civil rights. Since that time I have kept this traumatic experience in mind as I interact with others, and it has saddened me as I watch the racial divide continue to increase in the United States, and across the world, as people are persecuted for their race, religion, gender, or anything else that people view as "different."It has to break God's heart to see this division across the world. God created all of us in a unique way, and one of these ways is the color of our skin. When He looks at each of us, He beams with pride as He sees who He created and placed in the exact country and nationality He intended for each of us before the beginning of time.
In God's Kingdom, our race doesn't have any impact on who we are - God is looking at our hearts. We see in 1 Samuel 16:7, "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." We see Jesus modeling this behavior time and time again, as He broke the rules of His day in having compassion for people it wasn't politically or religiously correct to associate with - women, Samaritans, Gentiles, and other "sinners." Jesus confirmed the two most important commandments were to first love God, and next love your neighbor as yourself, and He was most obedient to these commandments when He died on the cross for the freedom and salvation of the entire world.
Things haven't improved since my experience in middle school - if anything, the situation is getting worse. So what are we to do in these increasingly troubling times? How can we make a change? We first have to admit that in our humanity, we all have a natural tendency toward bias against others who are different from us. Our history speaks for itself. E. Stanley Jones, a missionary to India, wrote in 1925: "I have had this story concerning the origin of the white man quoted to me by an Indian: “God asked the man who is now white what he had done with his brother, and he turned white with fear.” Read the book “The Black Man’s Burden” and you will come to the conclusion that there is enough truth in the above story to make it sting."Simply trying to be better through own efforts just isn't going to work. Despite technology bringing the world together like never before, the divide is growing. There's only one solution to the racial divide - we have to individually and collectively surrender to Jesus Christ and ask Him to transform us from the inside. We must undergo a radical change that only He can perform, and that He died for, as the Holy Spirit works in us and through us to show us and the rest of the world how Jesus sees each of us. Only Jesus living inside us, and leading us in paths of righteousness, will allow those of us with a generational history of oppression to break the cycle of our convicting history, and those who have experienced such oppression to show forgiveness and open arms to those who have oppressed.
A few years after my middle school experience, I went to another camp in high school, where I met a black teenager my age. We had a powerful interaction that week, as he privately admitted to me that he was considering killing himself, and didn't feel any self-worth. I talked to him about the love of Jesus, and led him into accepting Jesus as his Savior. But what if I had overlooked friendship with him because of the color of his skin? What if he had done the same, and we had missed the chance to have a literally life-changing interaction?We see so much anger, so much hate, so much anxiety, so much fear, if we try to look at this situation from the world's view. It can seem so overwhelming, just like other worldwide issues. So let's start with what we can influence - ourselves, our families, and our communities. Make your prayer to see others the way Jesus sees them, and it will forever change the way you see and interact with others. And then let God do the rest as we ask Him to use this spark to light a fire of compassion, peace, and love across the world through His Son, Jesus Christ!"Every nation has its peculiar contribution to make to the interpretation of Christianity. The Son of Man is too great to be expressed by any one portion of humanity. Those that differ from us most will probably contribute most to our expression of Christianity." - E. Stanley Jones"We love because He first loved us." - 1 John 4:19- Adam Gellert
- The Ultimate Connection
01/11/2018What if you could meet your favorite celebrity or another person you greatly admire? What would you do if you had an hour of time with him or her? I've been blessed to make some amazing connections over the last several years, and I can only sit back in wonder as I've "randomly" run into well-known Christian leaders at airports, my kids' school, at church, and elsewhere.In most of those initial encounters, I stumbled over myself as I reacted as most of us would when we run into a "celebrity" - you try to act calm, you try to make a connection by telling them all about your own amazing story (because of course, you're cool too), and finally, you have to make sure to get a picture with the person as evidence of your new "friend" for your social media accounts.But these types of interactions have typically been met with a lukewarm reception at best. We forget that well-known people have these kinds of encounters all the time. Most people use these chance meetings for their benefit, and public figures are experienced enough (and smart enough) to know it. So when these opportunities arise, and we feel God is leading us into an important connection, how can we take advantage of what God has brought together in the right way?One well-known leader with a global ministry did take the time to meet with me for coffee recently, and we discussed this very topic. He used a story about a friend who met Bono, who most would know from the band U2, to illustrate his point. The friend was with another person at a pub in Ireland, and they saw Bono hanging out at the pub with his entourage. The man bet his friend that he could get an audience with Bono, to which the friend took him up on it. The man then proceeded to buy a round of drinks for everyone at the pub, and toasted Bono, "The AIDS activist and humanitarian." Sure enough, a member of Bono's entourage invited the man to meet Bono.The key to getting an audience with Bono was that the man made an effort to connect with what was most important to Bono. The man didn't mention the band U2 that had made Bono famous, or do something that would appear to be self-serving or self-motivated. That probably happens all the time with Bono, and it's a turn off. Regardless of whether someone is famous or not, connections happen when the person you seek to connect with sees your desire for mutual benefit, an interest in a common cause, or just a desire to get to know someone better for who they are and what motivates them, not just what they can do for you. And it's usually pretty obvious when those intentions aren't there.As I stepped into my car reflecting on this story, God hit me with an even bigger revelation - that's how He feels about our desire to connect with Him. God is looking for relationships with people who are after His heart, not what He can do for them. All too often our time with Him is focused on what we need or want. When was the last time you asked God during your prayer time, "Who or what is on your mind and heart today, Father? How can I bless You and your Kingdom today? Who do you want me to pray for, or show love to today?"So ask yourself, why are you seeking a connection with God? Is it to gain eternal life and avoid hell? Is it because of the promise of prosperity and other blessings if you just follow Him? Is it to be healed of sickness and disease? Or are you motivated to be significant in the Kingdom - by having spiritual gifts, leading worship at your church, or having a big church following?All of these motivations are wrong. While you may have good intentions, the benefits of a relationship with God are a byproduct of the love of God, and the fruits of a Kingdom walk, but they should not be the motivation for making the Ultimate Connection. That connection comes from a surrender to the One who deserves such surrender, from pursuing a relationship with your Creator because you want to love Him as much as He loves you. It comes when you desire intimacy with your Father, and have a desire to move His heart as much as He desires to move yours. Just being in His presence is the best gift you can receive, and should be your greatest desire.Make today the day you shift your mindset and approach to your relationship with God. Because who or what you seek first drives everything else in your life, and in your journey with God, the Ultimate Connection."And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father's God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for God examines every heart and sees through every motive. If you seek him, he'll make sure you find him, but if you abandon him, he'll leave you for good. Look sharp now! God has chosen you to build his holy house. Be brave, determined! And do it!" - 1 Chronicles 28:9-10- Adam Gellert
- My Dear India
He:You who dwell in the gardenswith friends in attendance,let me hear your voice!She:Come away, my beloved,and be like a gazelleor like a young stagon the spice-laden mountains.- Song of Songs 8:13-14
My Dear India,
Come away with me, my beloved, for I yearn to hold you in my arms. Come away with me, my beloved, and know what it's like to experience my touch. Hope is what binds us, hope in eternal rest in our love.
You doubt that one God can love you, is enough for all the love you have to give. That's why I first sent Thomas, the one who doubted me until he saw me with his own eyes and touched me with his own hands. If that is what you require, like Thomas, I will reach for you, I will show myself to you so you can see my glory.
You think that since everyone is created uniquely, there is nothing unique about you. You doubt that each person was planned and formed in Me from the beginning of time, and will be with Me for all eternity. You doubt your own actions can help or hurt you, because your past life is from another, one you can't control. You doubt you are of importance to me based on who you were born into, what earthly family you belong to. But you belonged to me from all eternity, you were pressed together with my own hands. I gave you the uniqueness that is yours and yours alone, and it cannot be taken from you.
When I sent my Son Jesus to earth, to be a sacrifice to the world for all eternity, I saw you. I chose to die for YOU because I saw my bride, one that would love me, one that would seek me. So put away your seeking, for you have found Me.
I wish to heal you from all sickness, shelter you from all darkness. Nothing is too strong for me to overcome. My precious one, stick to me like the lotus blossom sticks to the dew, and I will refresh you for all time.
My blood was the sacrifice for you, so you have no need for your blood to be sacrificed. You worship all things, so worship me only. In this will you find the path to Truth.
I want to bless you with all good things that a Father can give, but I do not exist only to hand out blessings. I seek to be honored, to be loved, to be set apart as your only Love. If you surrender yourself to me, my grace and mercy will abound in you, and you will receive all you should receive.
Come away with me, oh beautiful people of India. and let me show you what true Love is. Invite my Son Jesus to show you the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and He will give you My Heart."Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28- Daddy GodThe Lord shared this message with me to the people of India. I can feel his deep love for India, and His desire to be with the children He has created there, as He desires the hearts of all humanity to be drawn to the love of their Father. His compassion and unfailing love are new every morning.-Adam Gellert
- Holy Spirit Baptism - Are You Ready for More?
12/08/2017I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. - Matthew 3:11One of the pleasant surprises of my ministry experience on my church's Healing team is the time we spend with each individual not just with physical healing needs, but in other areas of need in their desire for more with God. I've been privileged to walk several people through the process of being baptized in the Holy Spirit, and I get more excited about seeing people walk away with that gift than anything they may see physically. After salvation through accepting Jesus as your savior, being baptized in the Holy Spirit is the greatest gift God has given us, and it really is a game changer.
I get many questions about Holy Spirit baptism that I hope to answer for you in this article:
We will look at the experiences of three church leaders - Smith Wigglesworth, Agnes Sanford, and Francis MacNutt - as well as my own experience, to help answer these questions and encourage you to seek this important gift.What is Holy Spirit baptism? Why is it important?
- What is Holy Spirit baptism? Why is it important?
- Am I still saved if I'm not baptized in the Holy Spirit?
- How can I get baptized in the Holy Spirit?
- How do I know that I've been baptized in the Holy Spirit? What happens to be me when I am?
I don't intend to spend time here going into the theology of Holy Spirit baptism - some people believe you get baptized in the Spirit when you are saved, but I believe Holy Spirit baptism is a separate and distinct experience. There is plenty of Bible Scripture to support this, and you can do your own research, or read Robert Morris' book, The God I Never Knew, for more insights. Regardless of your view, the important thing is experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Holy Spirit baptism is important because it makes us a complete person in Christ. Jesus said He had to leave so the Holy Spirit could come (John 16:7), and we know from the Acts of the Apostles and Pentecost the impact the Holy Spirit has had on the church. The early disciples couldn't do what they did on their own, and neither can we. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth of relationship with the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Am I still saved if I'm not baptized in the Holy Spirit? Can I still have a relationship with Jesus without it?
Yes! Salvation comes through belief in Jesus Christ and surrender to Him as your Lord and Savior. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and was resurrected so that we could have eternal life. But His sacrifice also paved the way for the Holy Spirit to be freely shared to all who ask for this gift, to serve as our comforter and guide in our walk with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
To emphasize this point, let talk about our church leaders. Smith Wigglesworth was already a pastor who preached alongside his wife prior to Holy Spirit baptism. Agnes Sanford had a healing ministry and wrote the best-selling book, The Healing Light, decades before she was baptized in the Holy Spirit. And Francis McNutt was a Catholic priest for many years prior to experiencing Holy Spirit baptism.
But even though all of these church leaders were serving in a ministry capacity, and some had strong gifting prior, they all acknowledged that something was missing in their walk with the Lord. They were missing a certain "power" that comes from the fire and presence of the Holy Spirit, and once they received this baptism, they and their ministries were never the same.
How can I get baptized in the Holy Spirit? How do I know that I've been baptized in the Holy Spirit? What happens to be me when I am?Baptism in the Holy Spirit comes from simply asking Jesus for it - that's all it takes! Like salvation, opening your heart to this amazing gift is all that's required, and Jesus will do the rest! If you are uncertain about this, ask a prayer partner, pastor, or other Christian friend who understands Holy Spirit baptism to pray with you.
So does something happen immediately or at another point in time? Like salvation, some people experience something immediately, others have a noted physical or spiritual experience at another point in time, and others realize they have grown into this baptism gradually as they mature in their walk with the Lord. Don't worry about a specific experience or indicator - if you've asked, Jesus will be faithful in sharing this gift. And trust me, when you have it, you'll know!
Holy Spirit baptism brings many amazing benefits - power (Acts 1:8), love (Romans 5:5), the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness (Galatians 5:22), and spiritual gifts like prophecy and speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). Some people are scared off by thinking it's all about the "weird" spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues (which is actually wonderful by the way), but the other fruits of the Spirit like joy, peace, etc. are also very noticeable changes.
To bring this into real life examples, let's see how our three church leaders experienced baptism in the Holy Spirit:
- When Smith Wigglesworth told his wife about his baptism and the ability to speak in tongues, she told him, "I have been preaching for twenty years, and you have sat beside me on the platform, but on Sunday you will preach yourself, and I'll see what there is in it." As she sat in the back of the church that Sunday, Smith was filled with the Spirit and gave an incredible message. He describes his wife as being "terribly disturbed" and said in a voice that all around could hear, "That's not my Smith, Lord, that's not my Smith!" He went on to have a powerful ministry and traveled the world with the message of Jesus, with a wife who was continually amazed at his transformation.
- Agnes Sanford describes feeling drained, along with two of her prayer partners, after the many years of praying for others and traveling for her ministry. They asked God what they could do to get their strength back, and all heard, "Pray for the Holy Ghost." When they did, "the power of the Spirit fell upon us immediately. First of all, we felt a deep and intense burning in the middle of the head and with it a drawing feeling, as though the hair were brushed the wrong way, or as though one had on a hat that was too tight." She goes on to say they were given three specific gifts of the Spirit - a joy they had never known before, an understanding of truth, and the gift of peace.
- As a Catholic priest, Francis MacNutt says "it was as if there was a power in Jesus and His followers that was missing in my life." He could see that those he met who claimed to be baptized in the Spirit had the fruits of love, joy, and peace in their eyes. After praying for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, to which he felt no change, Agnes Sanford, who was also present, suggested, "I think it would be better to pray for you for a release of the Spirit and the charismatic gifts that are already in you through baptism, confirmation, and ordination." When that was done, Francis was overcome by a wave of laughter, and "it was as if a spring of joy had welled up from within me, the joy of the Holy Spirit. Wave upon wave of joy engulfed me." Francis went on to start a powerful healing ministry that thrives today.
My personal testimony is similar to Francis MacNutt. I accepted Christ at seven years old and was baptized in the Spirit soon thereafter, and I recall growing up with spiritual gifts. But as I got older I drifted away from these gifts. Thankfully, five years ago I was revitalized and asked God for more, and it was as if a switch was flipped in my life. I had a very clear moment of change that came upon me. I haven't been the same since, as I experience the fruits of the Spirit, greater revelation of the Word, and many other spiritual gifts.Reverend Tommy Tyson defined the baptism of the Spirit as an "event in our lives through which we become more continually aware of the presence, the person, and the power of the risen Christ." No matter where you are in your walk with God, or even if you don't know Jesus yet, there's always an opportunity for more, for the fullness of Christ in you.I hope you'll consider asking Jesus for the gift of the Holy Spirit - the Acts of the Apostles are alive and well today, and there's a great adventure in store for all who ask for more!A Hindu came up to a preacher in North India and said, "I want to ask a question, not through criticism but for information. I have been reading the New Testament and am especially struck with the Acts of the Apostles. These men seemed to have a wonderful power and fullness of spiritual life. Sir, have you found what they had?" The preacher was speechless. Though he was a graduate of a university and was a missionary, he knew in the inmost depths of being that he did not have what the early disciples seemed to have found. He went home, fell on his knees, yielded himself fully to Christ - and found! - E. Stanley Jones- Adam GellertPS. Click the links here for more information on the books/references quoted above:Agnes Sanford, Sealed OrdersSmith Wigglesworth, Baptized in the Holy SpiritFrancis MacNutt, The Nearly Perfect CrimeRobert Morris, The God I Never Knew
- Ever Be - Will You Answer the Call?
11/22/2017Free will is a great gift that can be unappreciated or misunderstood at times. Many of us watch as others come up with great ideas or ministry opportunities that turn into whatever definition of success we have (fame, fortune, a big church following, God's favor, etc.). We think "why can't I ever get that lucky break?" or "Hey, I had that idea too a few years ago, why didn't I take action on it?" We then blame God for showing favoritism to others or not giving us the same opportunities, when in fact we should be taking accountability for own inaction when God did open the door. He gives all of us a chance to work in our calling and purpose in partnership with Him, but few are obedient to the call.A small example of this in my own life was a day when I heard the song "Ever Be" by Aaron Shust. It's still one of my favorite songs, and that day I felt the impression that I should share the song on social media because someone else needed to hear it. Being new to the social media world and still worrying about how many "likes" I got from posts, I noticed that nobody had "liked" the post after several hours and removed it, being embarrassed at the lack of response.But the following day, I saw the exact same post from another person, who said they felt led to post the song "Ever Be" for someone to hear. It instantly made to realize that if I'm not willing to be obedient to something God had assigned to me, He would find someone else willing to take the risk.In a bigger example, Darren Wilson, a filmmaker who has produced several documentaries such as Finger of God, Father of Lights, and Furious Love, tells a similar story in his book, Finding God in the Bible. He had never made a movie before but was obedient to God's calling to do so. This has led to incredible success as his movies have made an impact across the world.Darren writes in his book, "When He asked me to start making a crazy movie about miracles, I was at my lowest point and honestly had nothing to lose by stepping out. It was only years later that I began receiving emails from producers and directors around the world - people who had far more talent, resources, and ability than me - admitting to me that for years God had been asking them to make a documentary about the things He's doing around the world, yet because of reputation, finances, schedule, fears, or whatever other excuse they could come up with, they all put it off or said no. Then they looked up and saw that here I had done it. Little old me with my borrowed camera and $20,000 budget. I was not God's first choice for this. I was simply the one guy dumb enough (or smart enough) to say yes."What has God put into your heart to do? What excuses are you making to not take action? It may be something as small as paying for the person behind you in the drive thru line, but that one act of obedience will open the door to more, as God now sees He can trust you with bigger and bigger assignments. He has big plans for each of us, if only we will realize we have the choice to take action, to take the leap into the unknown. You'll be in for a fun ride if you will only say "YES"!Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" - Isaiah 6:8P.S. Check out Darren's movies and other projects at wpfilm.com.-Adam Gellert
- The Key To Your Heart
11/03/2017"My beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him."- Song of Songs 5:4A few days ago I was going for a run, one of my favorite times to listen to praise and worship music and hear from God. As I was sifting through the song selections on my phone, I decided to do something I've never done before - I asked God what He wanted to hear. And just like so many other times I've heard from God, His answer was totally unexpected and taught me another important lesson in my relationship journey with the Father.
The song I heard God say was "Let My Love Open The Door," a song by Pete Townshend, lead guitarist of the famous classic rock band The Who. I knew the song, but I also knew it had to be God, since I haven't thought of or heard that song in years. With it being a secular song, I wondered if I had heard right, and couldn't wait to look up the lyrics to see why God had chosen this song.
Not surprisingly, the lyrics were a perfect message for me, and really for all of us, when put into the perspective of this song coming from God:When people keep repeatingThat you'll never fall in loveWhen everybody keeps retreatingBut you can't seem to get enoughLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorLet my love open the door to your heartWhen everything feels all overEverybody seems unkindI'll give you a four-leaf cloverTake all worry out of your mindLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorLet my love open the door to your heartI've got the only key to your heartI can stop you from falling apartTry today, you'll find this wayCome on and give me a chance to sayLet my love open the doorIt's all I'm living forRelease yourself from miseryThere's only one thing gonna set you freeThat's my loveThat's my loveLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorWhen tragedy befalls youDon't let it drag you downLove can cure your problemsYou're so lucky I'm aroundLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorLet my love open the door to your heartAnd just for good measure, in case some of you (including myself) wonder if this song was just a random thought, here was a quote of the day I read later that evening from E. Stanley Jones, a missionary to India:"Where other keys get jammed, love opens the door, for it fits the heart - every heart."Wow! Isn't God amazing! I learned some important lessons about God from this experience. First and most obviously, was the message from the song that God's thoughts about us are those of love, that He holds the key to our heart if we will open the door and let Him in. We are always on His mind, and He loves each of us! And even though I know He loves me, I never get tired of hearing it, just like we always appreciate the reinforcement when our loved ones say, "I love you!"
But the other important takeaway was the fact that God used a "secular" song to communicate with me. You may miss out on hearing from God if your mind is closed to what you view as "non-Christian" sources. Be open to all the ways God can talk to us - God created it all, and He can use it all for His glory!
So take the time to ask God how He wants to share His love with you - and be open (and amazed) at His answers!"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts."
- Psalm 139:23-Adam Gellert
- God Is Love
10/18/2017No matter what you believe, or who you believe in, all people believe in Love. At the core of humanity, we all want to be loved, and love others. The Beatles sang, "All You Need Is Love." And the Bible says, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
What is love? The dictionary defines love as "an intense feeling of deep affection." But love goes deeper than this. My favorite description of love is a Bible Scripture read at many weddings, including my own, from 1 Corinthians 13:"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."I think most people, Christians and non-Christians alike, would read this and agree with the author, Paul, on this description of love. We read or hear these verses and our spouse, children, or other loved ones come to mind. But let me challenge you with another twist to this Scripture, one that may make you squirm in your chair a little.
We also read in 1 John 4:8 that "God is love." He is the very essence of love. But do you really believe it? Let's look at 1 Corinthians 13 with a new lens:"God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud. God does not dishonor others, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails."
What's your reaction to this verse now? Does it feel the same as before? If not, why?
What has been your experience with God? What is your relationship with Him?
- Do you believe God is patient with you, that He is kind?
- Do you believe God does not envy, that He doesn't boast, that He is not proud?
- Do you believe God does not dishonor you, that He is not self-seeking?
- Do you believe God is not easily angered with you?
- Do you believe God keeps no record of your wrongs?
- Do you believe God does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth?
- Do you believe God always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres?
- Do you believe God never fails you?
I think most of us, if we are really honest with ourselves, have a difficult time answering "Yes" to all (or even most) of these questions. We've been hurt, disappointed, let down, experienced loss, wondered why something had to happen the way it did. We think we've done too much to really be loved unconditionally. How can God allow all these bad things to happen to me, or to the world around us, if He really loves us?
But if you will let Him in, and seek God with all your heart, soul, and mind, you'll discover there is no room for doubt in any of these areas. Because God is love, we are believing a lie if we accept any other belief about who He is, and how He sees us.God created each of us to be in a loving relationship with Him. So much so that He willingly sacrificed His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for us, so that we could be in a love relationship with our Creator, an unconditional love that frees us from the bondage of death, to spend eternity with our one true Love. Accept this today and experience God, experience Love."All you need is God."- Adam Gellert
- My Encounter With God
09/19/2017After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. - 1 Kings 19:12-13I always enjoy reading stories about near-death experiences and other encounters people have with the heavenly realm. It encourages us in our faith, and gives us hope in a future eternity with God. I shared one such story from a friend in a previous blog entry, The Day I Touched Heaven. And I'm currently reading an amazing book, Imagine Heaven, by John Burke, which relates several incredible stories of people's miraculous journeys to heaven and meeting God or Jesus (or both).Reading this book reminded me that I have yet to share on this site my own amazing story of meeting God (I shared it in my book); it changed my life and continues to give me confidence and hope daily, and I pray it does the same for you.Many years ago, I dozed off to sleep one night, unaware that I was about to encounter the Creator of the universe. I dreamed I was at my grandparents’ home. Everyone in my core family was there in the dream with me - my parents, brother, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. Suddenly, someone in the group told me that God wanted to speak to me, and it was as if I knew just what to do or expected it. I had no fear.I was in the family room, and a fog or mist, low to the ground, came out of the hallway that led to my grandparents’ bedroom. The fog came right toward me, and I somehow knew that God himself was approaching. I covered my face with my hands as He drew near, and I knew in my Spirit that I could not look.I squeezed my eyes shut just as I was engulfed in the brightest light I had ever seen. There was warmth around me that made me so comfortable and free; the warmth may be the thing I remember most vividly. Then I felt a hand on my right shoulder, and I was aware that it was God’s right hand. As I reflected on this later, I knew this was a purposeful and orderly act, because this would not be the natural placement of someone’s right hand as they were reaching out to touch someone’s right shoulder. Scripture also confirms this:When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” - Revelation 1:17While He was touching my right shoulder, I heard a voice in my right ear speaking these comforting words, "It's okay; it's okay." Amazingly, His voice was both different and as familiar as my earthly father's voice. The voice was speaking into my right ear. This was strange and unbelievable. Why? Because I've been deaf in my right ear since birth!It was a perfect moment - blinded by light, enveloped in radiant warmth, a hand on my shoulder, and the familiar, paternal voice of my Father. The experience only lasted for several seconds. I was so upset when I woke up because I never wanted to leave that moment. I was so comforted and at peace.This dream changed my life forever and serves as a foundation of my faith today. I now have the confidence of knowing that in the heart of it all, the God whose presence I experienced, whose hand touched me, and whose voice I heard, is alive, He is real, and He loves me as a father loves his child. I also no longer have a fear of death - if leaving this world means getting to be in His presence and having that same experience for eternity, I’m ready to go at any time! That’s how amazing and real my dream was.I hope this testimony encourages you to know that God loves each of us in a very real and personal way. As you walk through life's journey, He is with you every step of the way, encouraging you with the comforting words, "It's okay." Because an eternity of joy, peace, love, and God's warm presence awaits you.The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. - Matthew 4:16-Adam Gellert
- What Color Were Your Shoes?
08/27/2017"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." -Ecclesiastes 3:11In the natural world, time dominates much of how we operate our lives. We wake up and go to sleep at certain times, we celebrate another year of being alive on our birthday, and we see the impact of time as our own mortality comes into view in our later years. The idea of eternity is so difficult for humans since our lives are time bound, with a defined beginning and end.
So what will our eternity look like? What will we remember from our time on earth? It boggles the mind to think about the concept of our existence never having an end, forever living in our spiritual bodies. What will carry through from our time in this life?
During my participation in Gateway Church's freedom program called "Kairos," a story from one presenter still sticks in my mind and has changed how I view my priorities during my time on earth.
The presenter asked God these same questions about eternity, and God answered:
"You were in second grade, right?"
"Yes," the man replied.
"Do you remember what color your shoes were the first day of second grade?"
"No," was the response.
"Do you remember what you had for lunch the first day of school?"
"But you were there, right?"
"Yes," was the reply.
Then God said, "This is what eternity will be like. You will know you were on the earth, that you were there, but that's all you will remember over the span of eternity."
This story really shook my world. What it made so clear is that our day-to-day life, and the things we worry about most of the time, don't really matter in the long run. My focus should be on eternity, and my relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who will be with me on the eternal journey. And what can I be doing during my short time on earth to impact eternity - who else can I help introduce to Jesus? How can I be a light to the world? I can see now why Jesus and his disciples were focused solely on bringing people into repentance, into a relationship with the Savior - because in the end that's all that matters.
Knowing this truth about eternity, and the few things that will remain from this earthly experience, what are you focusing your time and attention on? Are those things going to last, will they have eternal impact? If not, maybe it's time to take a fresh look at your true calling and purpose as a follower of Jesus.
- Adam GellertFor more information on Gateway's "Kairos" program, click here.
- Strawberry Fields
07/06/2017"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." - John 15:4-5I have to admit, I have a rebellious tendency that can get me into trouble. I recall a personality test I took at work years ago, where the watch out for my manager was to "understand his need to rebel." I also rated high on "mischievous" on another assessment, defined as a "fondness for causing trouble in a playful way." This can make for a dangerous combination, but also has some positives in that I'm willing to take risks and challenge the status quo when a different direction may be needed.
So why do we rebel? It's because we resist control and authority. We see it as teenagers when we resist our parents' control and authority over our lives, and as adults in the workplace when we resist a manager's direction or a company policy. And we see it in the Bible, with many examples of people who resist submitting their will to God because of their desire for control and independence.
I was spending time with God recently during a period of heightened rebellion in my relationship with Him, when He said, "Strawberries." I was left with the impression that He was using this to describe me, so I looked up strawberries to discover what it was about them that He attributed to me.
Sure enough, I learned that strawberries can be very high maintenance. When in growth mode, strawberries produce "runners," or vines that extend from the "mother" plant and try to grow new "daughter" plants. The problem is, these runners take energy away from the mother plant, and farmers typically trim most of these runners back to allow for more growth of the mother plant. So while strawberries have many outstanding health benefits and taste great, farmers who grow strawberries know they are dealing with a fruit that takes more care than others.
What does this mean for those of us who tend to be more rebellious? It's actually great news, because God created each of us to be special and unique, and He knows that He has to tend the "garden" of His creation in unique ways. It's no surprise that He began creation with the Garden of Eden, with its large variety of plants and trees. He loves tending to His garden of unique personalities with each person He created, and He's not scared or intimidated by your unique personality traits.
But now that I know I'm a strawberry in God's garden, I want to be more mindful of the potential "runners" in my life that keep me from bearing the best fruit possible. For me it's rebellion and the desire to have control. I can ask God to expose and trim back these runners, so I can better submit to His perfect plan and will for my life.
What runners are getting in the way of your best life? Ask God, the perfect Gardner, to expose and trim these areas, so you can bear the fruit God intended.
- Man Overboard!
05/05/2017"Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith." - 1 Timothy 1:19
In the Christian community, we like to talk about our ability to cast our cares upon Jesus. 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." And Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." For me, when reading these verses I always had an image of taking whatever cares or burdens of our lives - worries, grief, hurts, anger - and placing them on Jesus' back as I walk with Him on life's journey. As I hike up the mountain or down into the valley, Jesus is walking ahead of me, guiding me along the path with my heavy backpack of burdens on his shoulders.
But that implies that our burdens are still with us on the journey, that Jesus keeps those burdens as we walk together. And our burdens actually need to be cast away, or released, since they get in the way of a full relationship with the Lord.
Recently, God gave me a vision that has changed my perspective on what it really means to cast our cares on Him. He showed me the image of having to throw the cargo overboard on a ship during a storm. And it made me wonder, why did people do that during Bible times? We see in the story of both Jonah and Paul that they were on a boat that was in danger of sinking because of a storm. The crew starts throwing its cargo overboard, so why did they do this?
To lighten the ship. A heavy cargo makes a ship sit deeper in the water, which is dangerous in shallow water. The crew threw the cargo overboard so the ship would sit higher in the water in case they were blown near land, where their boat would get destroyed on the shallow reefs, rocks, and harbors. If the bottom of the ship ran aground miles from any shore, they faced the prospect of being tossed into the sea. Thus, when you are faced with life or death, everything (even the food) becomes expendable.
Lightening the ship also stabilizes it in rough seas. If the ship got tossed to one side and became unbalanced, a heavy ship would be more likely to follow the energy and due to inertia (the law where objects in motion want to stay in motion), it would tip over.
Further, throwing cargo overboard makes the ship go faster in case the men wanted to try to outrun the storm.
With this analogy, God was showing me that there were some things I was holding onto, that I needed to throw away to lighten my ship. The storms that will hit all of us at some point or another, can serve as a way to force us to throw away some things we view as "precious cargo," such as a job, money, pride, rebellion, or anything else that keeps us from relying solely on Him. When the seas are quiet and the ship of life is cruising along smoothly, we aren't challenged to let go of some things that could make us stronger in the long run.
What cargo do you need to throw overboard to lighten the load? Ask God to reveal this to you through the Holy Spirit, and watch your ship pick up speed past the storms, and into the calm seas of God's presence. And you'll find that the cargo you thought was essential to your journey, were actually a hindrance to being who God created you to be..."We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." - Hebrews 6:19-20
- An Ocean of Secrets
03/30/2017"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." - James 5:16
I was watching the movie Titanic recently, one of my favorites. The main character, Rose, tells the story of her romance with Jack, which ends when he dies in the Titanic sinking. Nearing the end of her life, Rose confesses to her granddaughter this secret love she had before meeting her husband later in life. In this moment of confession, she says to her granddaughter and the others listening to the story, "A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets."
This was such a interesting statement, and my first reaction was to think, "Not just a woman's. We all have an ocean of secrets." And while the movie portrayed her secrets as part of her adventurous, romantic mystique, most secrets create a bondage in our lives. People keep secrets because they are ashamed, and don't want others to know about the sin committed, lie told, or law broken. We have an image to uphold in front of others, and we are afraid of what people may think about us if they were to know about these secrets.
Fortunately, God knows everything about us - what we have done and what we will do - and loves us as sons and daughters. He sent Jesus to forgive us from our sins, and if we will receive it, we are washed clean from our ocean of secrets. I know I am comforted knowing that He is aware of everything I've done and will do, and loves me all the same.
But sometimes that's not enough to heal us from our ocean of secrets. As we see in James 5:16, God tells us to "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." Confession releases power in your inner healing, as God honors the Body of Christ as a conduit for his work in each member of the Body. In other words, we were not meant to "go it alone."
One person who learned this powerful truth was Agnes Sanford, a founding member of the Charismatic Movement in the mid 1900s. Agnes had a powerful healing ministry, and her first book, The Healing Light, was a best-seller. But she found herself drained of her power as she gave more and more of herself in prayer for others, and from traveling around the country speaking. One day she asked God how her strength could be restored, and He revealed to her that confession was the answer. As one of her friends told her, "The confessional sets free in you the power of God through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. It releases power in the way that is the most simple and wholesome and human."
So Agnes, coming from a church background that did not practice confessionals, split her life into seven periods of time. She asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to her any unforgiven sins, hurts, or other memories from each of those seven time periods, writing them all down. Finally, she shared everything from her list with a priest from another church, who prayed with her for her forgiveness. The priest said, "Although so few people know it, the church through Jesus Christ really does have the power to forgive sins."
Sure enough, Agnes said she "had hardly gone out of the place before I was flooded from head to foot with the most overwhelming vibrations...and indeed a healing process did begin in me at that time." She was able to continue her ministry with vibrancy and power after learning to take advantage of confession.
My home church, Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, aligns to this approach and includes a confessional time in its "Kairos" freedom program. I participated in this myself, and agree with Agnes that there's something powerful about telling another person about a sin you have never told anyone about, that's been kept buried inside. It was very liberating.
If your "ocean of secrets" is keeping you from being the whole person God intended you to be, I would encourage you to explore a confession of those secrets to a member of the Body of Christ - a priest, pastor, or other Christian brother or sister. And watch Jesus work in His promise to heal you and set you free.