Shame

Balance – The Other Side Of Freedom

Balance. That’s not a popular word amongst some Charismatics. A real popular word amongst non-Charismatics and when I say Charismatics I mean those who don’t believe in cessationism. Charismatics, generally speaking, take the word “balance” as limiting and binding. There was an article written a couple of years ago by Anthony Bradley entitled, “The ‘new legalism’: How the push to be ‘radical’ and ‘missional’ discourages ordinary people in ordinary places from doing ordinary things to the glory of God.” You can Google the article if you want. This blog isn’t geared necessarily towards anything he did or didn’t say but the article brought up some things I’ve been thinking about and haven’t thought about for a couple of years.

I’m speaking from a guy who was raised in the Charismatic(if you like labels) church. Though I was raised in the Charismatic church, I did my own thing for several years and when I was 20 years old made my own decision to follow the Lord. I then went back to the Charismatic church. I also had a couple spurts in a Methodist and AG church, which had wonderful believers in them. Some of the things I’ve experienced were completely amazing and life changing yet at the same time I went through a lot of shame, rejection, and not being able to quite measure up to others around me. And this had nothing to do with sin but with Charismatic performance.

Due to the lack of freedom in many evangelical churches where you can neither dance nor raise your hands during worship, much less show any type of emotional responses or even read the Scripture for yourself, believers have been so hungry for more. Like the ability to express one’s own love for the Lord in ways that they feel comfortable like flag waving, dancing, lifting hands, prophetic art, clapping, shofar blowing etc. But now these actions have become performing, not to say the people themselves are performing to please God because that’s between them and the Lord. With these new sets of standards it opens the possibility that if you don’t do these things then you are labeled nominal or cold or lukewarm or quenching the Spirit. For example, when everyone stands up in church to sing the songs on the projector and you remained seated you may get a look or a “gentle” nudging from another to stand up and get excited about Jesus and you succumb to the pressure to perform all the while it could be the opposite of how your spirit connects with God.

Personally I connect better while sitting and being still. I love reading while laying down as opposed to sitting. Our spirits are Hand-crafted and designed on purpose and for purpose. We are living stones being fitted together. We have to let one stone be different from all others otherwise there might be a chink in the armor of the whole. We have so desired freedom that it’s become a bigger box than we were in before…but it’s still a box if you let it define what’s new and acceptable.

We’ve erred on the side where freedom becomes an activity instead of a rest from activity. Freedom means to dance…it also means not to dance. Freedom means to shout…it also means not to shout. Freedom means laying prostrate in front of the altar…it also means not laying prostrate in front of the altar. Freedom means me being me…it also means giving the Spirit permission to push me a little. Freedom means I can get slain in the spirit…it also means I don’t need to get slain in the spirit. Freedom means I can stand up and raise my hands…it also means I don’t have to. Freedom means I shake & bake by manifesting…it also means I don’t have to. Freedom means I can speak in tongues…it also means I don’t have to. Freedom means I can get drunk in the spirit…it also means I don’t have to. Freedom means I can live in Truth without conforming to someone else’s standards. Freedom means I can walk in my design without fitting into someone else’s design.

If a person knows what they know and knows what they don’t know and is secure in that and can allow someone else to know what they don’t know and can lean into that then maturity and balance can come. In order for balance to occur there must be two sides having equal force all hinging on a higher Truth that keeps both afloat. Jesus had a great nugget that I don’t think I’ve ever heard mentioned in a sermon and it’s in Matthew 13:52 and says,

He said to them, Therefore every teacher and interpreter of the Sacred Writings who has been instructed about and trained for the kingdom of heaven and has become a disciple is like a householder who brings forth out of his storehouse treasure that is new and [treasure that is] old [the fresh as well as the familiar].

There is nothing wrong with liturgy and there is nothing wrong with spontaneity. There is nothing wrong with hymns and there is nothing wrong with prophetic singing. It was for freedom that Christ set us free.

Several years back where I sat like a bump on a log in midst of others feeling overflowing joy and laughter and His Presence. They would shake & bake and feel great all the while I felt the sensitivity of a gnat. I felt somewhat devastated inside. If this is what freedom was then I wanted in and no matter what I did by mimicking, or getting prayer, or even doing a little fake it till you make it, I just didn’t get it. It was sin because I knew others had sin. What was it? It was even worse when it came for a prayer line when those who were shaking & baking would get more and more prayer and I would stand there in “receiving mode” and get a quick 5 second prayer. A common remark I’d hear about those “experiencing more” than me would be, “The Spirit’s all over him,” and then they would point their finger and the person would flail even more. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those “strange fire” people. I have physically experienced God on several occasions and I fully believe God touches His children in amazing ways. I’ve been healed twice of sinus infections. It’s the box. It’s the “Freedom” box that I don’t care for.

We cannot set aside one set of rules in exchange for another set  rules. We need freedom to and freedom not to. The Holy Spirit is wind and blows one way and you don’t see it and it blows another. You don’t know where it’s coming or where it’s going. So are those born of the Spirit. We are ingrafted into this wind and we must leave behind our belongings and step into sonship where you can do what He wants for you and not what others want for you. God’s wants for another may not be the same as His wants for you. His wants for me won’t be the same and His wants for you.

Oneness comes with diversity. In our soul this doesn’t make sense. By our spirit knows. Adam left sonship behind for his own belongings. And until we leave our belongings at the foot of Him we won’t have oneness but a certain longing for unity out of our grasp. I must leave my belongings, the things I use to belong, at His feet and enter into sonship with the One True King.

On a side note. One thing that has set me free from being fascinated by externals is Psalm 103:7 which says,

He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.

For me personally, knowing His ways is tops. His acts are cool but I never want them to be a distraction. If my wife lauded my gifts and not my heart then I would feel…well used. I don’t get the ecstatic reactions to gems, glory clouds, or angel feathers. Whether they are real or not. It’s not my focus. Because for me, if it was my focus, I would not feel legitimate unless I was able to receive the same exact things. Unless I got a gem stone, unless I got an angel feather(though I joke I do get them when my goose down pillows expel them), unless a glory cloud fills my room I won’t feel up to par. All these things are great, fantastic, and utterly amazing acts of God. But for me, which won’t be for you too, I love His ways. I want to know Him.

Please mind my rant in the midst of the case I’m presenting. I wanted to provide the other side of freedom. The balance. The true freedom where my design can flourish in the midst of a person’s completely different design. Where both designs can be honored, legitimized, and celebrated. So here’s a blessing.

Spirit of _____ I bless you and call you forward and to attention. I bless you spirit with God’s completely different, one-of-a-kind, mold-breaking design. I bless you with the freedom to and the freedom to not to. Be free to be led by the Spirit into freedom. Not chaos but freedom where you can be you and another can be another.  Spirit of ____ listen to God’s word for you in Psalms 103:7 which says, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” Throughout the time Israel was in the wilderness there was a special thing Moses and God had going…something different that Israel’s status quo and box. I bless you spirit with knowing God’s ways without needing His acts as a legitimacy crutch. Be blessed and astounded and amazed by His acts but when they aren’t present know your Father has never left you. Absence of His acts never proves the absence of His Presence though His Presence may be known by His acts. Spirit I bless with you the balance of 100% Scripture and 100% Holy Spirit. I bless you with the freedom to have the soul or body touched by God and I bless you with not needing the soul and body touched. Spirit, all you need to do is go to the face of the Father in all situations, circumstances, problems, provisions, and applications and receive all you need from God. Receive all your directions from the Father’s face. May the Father’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May you shine, spirit. May you exude all the reflections, colors, rhythms, wavelengths, sounds, freedom to and freedom not tos that God has placed within you. May you walk in oneness with diversity. May all portions of you be blessed, healed, celebrated and rejoiced. You weren’t wrong in your design, in your feelings, or in your ways of connecting with God. God made you to connect with Him in certain ways and at certain times. There is no box over you spirit! You are free to go to the face of the Father so He may unpack all of your special and unique design features. He will unlock, in His timing, every He has place in you from the foundations. Be blessed spirit to ride the wind, be united to the wind, and to be excited for the wind.

I hope you get the gist of what my spirit was feeling and I hope your spirit caught it. The soul can get pretty wrapped up with a lot of things. One day our spirits will rule and reign in the rightful place it was designed for.

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A Blockage to Hearing God

How does this image hit your soul? How does it hit your spirit? I know how it hits me. “Wait till your father gets home!”

There are many articles, blogs, books, videos, and messages with a myriad of lists with possible blockages to hearing God. I will speak on behalf of experience and expound somewhat on one thing in my life that blocked it or more correctly held me back from wanting to listen.

First the back story.

Like I’m sure many of us who haven’t walked with God all our life things were messy. We sinned and for a time loved it. I did. But then God came in His goodness…and the enemy with his badness. For me there was a daily struggle between condemnation, conviction, and correcting or whatever terms you like to use. I held a lot of shame in my spirit not the soul. Shame resides in the spirit of a person. Also being an introspective introvert didn’t make it any easier. I was constantly aware of my failures, character defects, etc. In my mind I had this constant sountrack playing that I kept offending and hurting and was a disappointment to my heavenly Father. Here was the agreement and inner vow: I have failed God so many times by sinning I dare not seek Him or else He will tell me to do something that I know I won’t do thus sinning and not being obedient again. How dare I seek His face and ask Him to speak when I know I won’t do it. See what shame does? See what demonically inspired introspection fueled by religion does? It cripples you. It crippled me. One of my only prayer for years was either “Bless this food to my body” or “God please forgive me and cleanse me.” What was weird is that I could hear for others just great. I could prophesy and have words of knowledge and they would be spot on in most cases. For me it was easy to do that when I wasn’t responsible for the outcome. A person could deliver mail all day without a worry until they receive their own mail. When I saw my mail all I saw was bills and junk mail. So what blocked me was I didn’t want to disobey God once again. Best way not to disobey is not hear Him speak because I always thought He would be directive. I never knew He just wanted to chill. Hang out. Enjoy ME for ME. I didn’t know God could and would enjoy the current version. I’m thinking of the digital age we live in where it’s all about the latest greatest version. New comes along and the old gets discarded. Thrown away. Worthless.

And then I found out a secret…God will not set you up for failure. That a test is not designed for your failure or to show you what you are not. But a test is a joyful exploration of my Father’s goodness wrapped up in my seeming frailty and taking life on together. God may set your unrenewed self up to fail or rather realize apart from Him you can do nothing. Know this: God wants you to come to Him warts, spots, and all because He’s already washed them away. Seeking His face is about knowing Him intimately not to get a to-do list. Jesus’ first and second commandment are to love Him and others as ourselves. Love doesn’t produce a project to be completed or a problem to be solved. Love produces an environment where the good, bad, and ugly can reside side by side until the Holy Spirit and man’s spirit come into agreement and start to bring redemptive death to those things in order for resurrection power to come forth.

The religious spirit will do all it can from keeping you from God just like the Pharisees did. In the Old Covenant condemnation was the ministry (see 2 Cor. 3:9) New Testament’s ministry is righteousness. Old Covenant death came by getting close. New Testament life comes by getting close.

If you’ve ever felt like how I felt then today is a new day. God won’t set you up for failure. Even if He does ask you to do something and you don’t do it then there is great grace abounding to you. That is what relationships are about. Walking together through the thick and thin. Blood is thicker than your inabilities.

 

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Shame Off You!!

ShameOffYouShame Off You!!

What is shame? How do you know if you carry shame? How do you know if it’s affecting your life? How do you know if shame is your current mirror? How many times have you heard someone say shame on you? How many times have you said it yourself?

 Only the shamed will sow shame.  Shame damages and destroys the image of God in you. Shame is a dirty mirror indeed. It is when you take what someone says about you as a value statement instead of an observation. Someone with shame will take correction as someone judging you but if you take it as an observation you’ll take it as a learning situation and thank that person because you know that if a wise man is rebuked he loves it because he wants to learn and is teachable. If you take things as value statements then anything anyone says to you even remotely negative or even positive remarks, you’ll immediately hide and run and think shame and won’t accept compliments.

 But when healing and truth comes you can take what people say as constructive criticism and with thanks because it gives you an opportunity to grow and learn. Now there are things that you need to simply refuse due to ill intent. Scripture says rebuke a wise man and he will love you for it. (Prov. 9:8)

When was the last time someone was rebuking and returned love and thankfulness in return? But that is what a teachable spirit is: knowing that iron sharpens iron and all things and situations can be used to grow and thrive in. Shame along with the view of that what people say about or to you as value statements only make you want to run and hide.

If we are adults and we were wounded by a parent who would knowingly or unknowingly wound us we can get healed and walk forward and out of shame. Some of you have tried to help your parents out with housework or yard work only to have them pick it apart and say how bad of job you did or maybe you wanted to wash your father’s car as a surprise and your father only could see the spots you missed and were still dirty and decided to rewash the whole car all the while telling you how you missed so many spots.

These things have hurt you and you’ve probably decide you’ll never wash a car or do dishes again. Maybe you decided you never want to be vulnerable and help anyone again because they won’t approve of how well you’re doing. There is healing and restoration for your heart, soul, and spirit. God will heal you and then you no longer need to take things people say about you as value statements and now they will only be observations because you know that your Heavenly Father is the one where you truest identity is present.

God is not ashamed of you! His smile over you is consistent because that is who He is!

The problem is we take our messed up pasts and poor parenting and place that label on the Father. He is not like your parents. He is so much better and he will re-parent you and you’ll learn what it means like to be approved and accepted and truly loved as a son or daughter of God.

Healing

A prayer for healing:

God. I need you as my Father. Help me. I need You to re-raise, re-parent, and re-present parenting to me. I hurt. Shame has been on me for so many years. But I know, deep down, You are good. Forgive me for judging You based on the bad parenting and upbringing I had. Thank you for forgiving me. I give you access to all areas of my life and heart. Bring healing! Thank you for bearing my grief, shame, hurt, and damage. You are good, God, and I believe it now. You are awesome and, God, I now believe I am awesome too! I am awesome because I am created in Your image. Thank you, Father for giving me the healing and ability to call you Father. Thank you that my heart is good and with this good heart I can love you with it when before my heart was hurt and couldn’t love you properly. Thank you for placing me in Christ, where true and ultimate healing is. Thank You for giving me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a good heart to receive and experience You and the Love that You are. I forgive my parents and teachers and coaches and relatives and siblings and anyone else who may of wounded or hurt me in the past. I release them into Your hands. Thank you, Father, for healing and setting me free to be free indeed. Thank you for being in my Shack all along waiting for me to come to You for healing.

A declaration:

Father, in Jesus’ name, I declare the person reading this is free from shame! Free from the pain that it has brought! And free from the past! You’re heart is beautiful, awesome, powerful, clean, and free to love God and others. I declare you now can love yourself! Healing come right now to the wounds of the past and present. Healing! Healing! Healing! No more shame! Shame OFF you! I decree complete healing! Set free by the love of the Father who loves you with and eternal and everlasting love. I call forth your spirit man to rise up and receive the love of the Father and the acceptance and approval of the Father! No more shame! No more shame! The love of the Father, Perfect Love cast out all fear right now! Father comes with your soothing voice and touch and complete the work You began in their life! I say all this in Jesus’ mighty name!

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