I watched an interview with Costi W. Hinn on "Wretched Radio" via YouTube. Of course, I was initially drawn in by the title, "Why Benny Hinn's nephew won't donate to his uncle's ministry".
Benny Hinn is a name that just kind of dropped out of the scene for me and I never thought to seek why. My grandparents faithfully watched more televangelist than I could even name. They knew all the who's who in the TV preaching world and they faithfully supported some of those ministries.
There are preachers and speakers that I enjoy watching from time to time but I've never felt compelled to send money in. I figured by the look of their church auditoriums they were doing just fine without my money.
So, when I heard about his book I was interested to see what his insider look would show.
First of all, this is not an "I hate Benny Hinn and prosperity preachers" book or anything of that nature. In fact, I commend Costi for a few things. He shows things from his perspective. He speaks to the conflicts that he was feeling and how God laid out opportunities for him to find truth among the deception he had known as 'normal'. Also, the book doesn't have a 'what I believe is right' feel to it. Again, it is written as a testimony of a man who's eyes were open to truth.
Second of all, although the book is marketed to expose the deception taught by the prosperity gospel, this is a book I would recommend to any believer. It digs into the truth of the gospel and hits on so many different aspects of deception that have infiltrated the modern church.
Above all else, I appreciate his call for believers to get in their Bibles to find truth out and seek God on their own. This book is a great example of how a testimony should inspire others to seek God as well and discover for themselves who he is and what he stands for rather than take someone's word for it.
“Show mercy to some people who have doubts. Take others out of the fire, and save them. Show mercy mixed with fear to others, hating even their clothes which are dirty from sin.”
In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (/jɪn/ and /jɑːŋ, jæŋ/; Chinese: 陰陽 yīnyáng, lit. "dark-bright", "negative-positive") is a concept of dualism in ancient Chinese philosophy, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. (reference link)
I pray for patience with my boys a lot. I pray because I don't want to turn into the Hulk the moment they get rowdy. It's no good for me and it certainly doesn't teach them anything. However, me being recognized as a patient person doesn't come by everything going good and grand every moment of my life. The times that people recognize my patience most are the times when Hulk is rising up just under my collar. Times when I recognize that I don't want people to see me, I want them to see God. Times when I don’t want to be like me, I want to be like Christ.
Praying for patience, joy, or self-control and thinking that stress, sadness, and temptation will not show up is like asking a trainer to help you build muscle and then standing in shook when they bust out the weights. Resistance builds muscle, conflict develops character.
As Christians, we should pray for patience as well as the other fruits of the spirit- love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What we shouldn't do is find ourselves caught off guard when the weights appear.
God, help us understand the difference between praying our will and your will. Help us to understand forgiveness and grace did not come from a beautiful rose with droplets of morning dew but from the slaughtered blood of a sacrificial lamb you called Your Son. You make beautiful things. Diamonds don't come without extreme pressure. Remind us of your love. Remind us of your promises as we face trials. Remind us that you are God and break us free from religious lies that say, "God is good so everything should be good always." That is not what your Word tells us. We are told that there will be sorrows and trials and heartache this side of heaven but not to lose hope because you are God. We are told that the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked alike. We are bound to experience the same things that happen to all of mankind but as Christians we are no longer slaves to sin. We no longer have to respond the same as we did before we knew Christ. There is a new way to live. Thank you, God. Amen.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
Freedom. What does that word truly mean?
freedom noun free·dom | \ ˈfrē-dəm: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous
When you see the picture of the shattered window what is the first thought to cross your mind? "Oh that sucks"? Expensive? Anger? Frustration? This was the window of my Jeep two days ago. My husband came in to tell me that while he was edging the lawn, a rock must have hit the window.
I was a little bit at a loss for words. In fact, the only thing spinning through my mind was 'don't get angry it was an accident'. Manly because I would have felt bad in his shoes.
- I told my husband to finish edging the yard. The yard wasn't going to finish edging itself.
- I began vacuuming up the glass. I recognized that if I was in his shoes I would continue to beat myself up over the mistake while I cleaned it up. I didn't want him doing that. I wanted him to refocus.
- I called insurance. I realize that the first thing that we saw was money flying out of our bank account. That was a silly thing to worry about because we pay a monthly fee (car insurance) to cover things like this.
What's the point?
What shattered windows are popping up in your life to distract you from the freedom God has for you? In case you didn't get the metaphor, how are you handling the issues that arise in your life? Are you returning to default mode (sinful self) and trying to figure out everything on your own or switching things to freedom mode and putting your trust in God?
If your mode is not reflecting the fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22&23 you can know that you've switched to default mode and rejected the freedom you should be living in.
God, this was one time that I turned to you and knew that things would go well. But there are so many, many, many times that I switch to default mode. Holy Spirit guide me. I don't want to live in default mode, never experiencing true freedom. I want to rejoice in the freedom that Jesus provided for me through His sacrifice. Remind me to approach situations in a new light. Approach situations with the example that Jesus set. Approach them in a way to make God's kingdom real and tangible to those watching. That onlookers would see a new way of living. Amen
"But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-25 NCV
Yesterday, I blogged about focusing in on our problems so much that they become bigger than God in our sight. The reality is that problems are not the only thing that grab our attention. There are many things this side of Heaven that cry out, "Look at me, hear me, taste me, feel me, smell me, think about me, love me."
Everything wants our attention, how do we focus on God amongst that?
Let us live in a right way, like people who belong to the day. We should not have wild parties or get drunk. There should be no sexual sins of any kind, no fighting or jealousy. But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and forget about satisfying your sinful self." Romans 13:12-14 NCV
And when he did that, he broke our bondage to sin. Unfortunately, since all we've ever know is sin we have to be taught a new way to live now that we are free. Jesus set that example for us.
While he was here on earth he didn't focus on earth, he focused on God. That is what set him apart. He wasn't trying to get ahead, stressing over his legacy, fretting about his family. His focus was on God and the kingdom to come. Christians, that is where our focus must be also.
I get it, there are days when everything is going crazy. There are days when you're tired or depressed. There are days when your anxiety is through the roof. On those days, God isn't your focus.
There are days when you're hitting the daily grind and getting things done. There are days when the sun is shining and life is good. There are days that you're relaxing. On those days, God isn't your focus.
If we call ourselves Christians, Christ is our example. Every part, good or bad, every moment of every day- God is to be our focus. Not my will but Yours be done.
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14 NKJV
When our focus is on our problems it cannot also be on God
Our problems are nothing to God. I don’t mean that He doesn’t care about them, I mean that they are simply a speck in comparison to who God is. I don't know about you but I often find that my problems seem bigger than God at times. I know that God is BIG so why the skewed perspective?
Because I’ve lost focus. In the moments that my problems seem bigger than God I have lost my focus. My attention has been directed from God to that problem. I'm sure after some evaluation the same would be true for you when your problems become bigger than God.
So, how do we get our focus back on God?
We praise Him!
Seriously, I don’t know about you but if I put in music that tells of how big God is, how awesome God is, how powerful God is- I can’t help but shift my focus.
God, cares about us. He cares about what we struggle with. However, he wants second place to no one and nothing. In fact, he doesn’t even want first place, which is beyond what my mind can grasp. He wants to be called, "I AM". Nothing compares. No one compares. Everything that we want and need all in one- that's God.
Today, I challenge you to join me in un-magnifying the problems in your life by praising God and believing that He is who He says He is, He can do what He says He can do, and that He works all things including (insert my problem here, insert your problem here) for good because we love Him.
"We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan." Romans 8:28 NCV
As we were school shopping, I was trying to think of a project they could do that would occupy some time and encourage creativity. We bought shoes and fabric paint then headed home.
Josiah wanted gold that sparkled like treasure and Solomon said yellow was his favorite color (this changes often).
While they were painting Josiah said he wanted a lightening bolt for Flash. Well, Flash is Solomon's favorite superhero, so of course, Solomon wanted a lightening bolt as well. Josiah said he was painting the other shoe all gold, so of course, Solomon said he was going to paint the other shoe all one color as well.
Then something awesome happened. Solomon went rogue and decided to do his own thing. He mixed the gold and yellow paint and started painting both his shoes all over covering up the lightening bolt. I was happy to see their individual personalities coming through in something as simple as painting.
It made me think about how God must look down at us wondering why we are trying to be more like our brother or sister rather than embracing ourselves. God, made us each unique for a reason, it wasn't a mistake. If he wanted us to be the same he could have easily done that.
I worked with people that were skilled in one area and people that were skilled in another area. When they began competing with each other or trying to be more like each other, it was painful for everyone in the office. But when they each embraced their own skills and handed off the stuff the other was talented at things ran smooth.
It is the same with the body of Christ. We must accept what we need to recognize what our talents are and what are talents aren't. But even more than that, we need to recognize what our brothers and sisters' talents are and what they are not so we can encourage them as well.
"You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything." 1 Corinthians 12:27 MSG
While working on a new project, I came across this gem of a quote. So very true. Sometimes what we want is other people’s possessions but there are also times it’s their talents or looks that we desire. God made you and he made me exactly the way we are for a reason. I get it, it’s hard to appreciate the parts that we deem “flaws”. Trust me I understand.
I live in Arkansas, a state that is sometimes stereotyped as being backwoods and hillbilly. Barefoot pregnant women on the front porch, moonshiners in the hills, messed up teeth, straw hats, banjos, and heehaw y'alls. Hopefully, that painted a decent picture.
I also have something dentist describe as "peg laterals", basically abnormally small pointy front teeth.
After my braces were removed, the dentist gave me a retainer to wear that had two "normal" looking teeth on it. I wore it all the time. While I was wearing it, I'd hold back my smile because I didn't like smiling with metal in my mouth. On the occasion that I didn't have it on, I held back my smile because I thought I looked weird with these tiny teeth.
Well, I remember going up and asking for prayer. I really wanted my teeth to be normal. I really wanted to smile without being self-conscious of what others might think. Nothing miraculous happened during that service. I went home and I still believed God could heal me. That day I decided to throw the retainer away (sorry Mom and Dad). I was going to stand on the fact that God was going to heal me. And he did! Just not the way I thought he was going to. Instead of giving me the healing that I wanted, He gave me the healing that I needed. Instead of growing my teeth, He grew my confidence.
I still have moments that I get self-conscious about my smile but it's typically around people I don't know very well or just met. In those moment, the Holy Spirit is prompt to remind me how much my husband and children love my smile.
This seems like a silly topic to write about. In fact, this is the first time I have shared this story with anyone. But if it helps you to appreciate the "flaws" that you have then praise God!
God, sometimes there are "flaws" that occur in our lives that have to be removed medically or miraculously because they are hazardous to our health. But sometimes there are "flaws" that aren't really flaws, we just label them that because these flaws make us look different from everyone else. Lord, with all that in mind, help us to pray your will and stand on it. God, I believed that you would heal me by growing my teeth but you saw the greater need in my heart. Thank you for knowing so much more than I know. Help me to seek You when praying for others needs. Help me to seek You and believe that You know ALL I need. Amen.
A New Identity
What is this blog about? You mean, I'm supposed to have a purpose? Ok, if that's required then my purpose is life.
This is my life...Searching for truth, one day at a time.
I enjoy writing so sometimes that truth comes through storytelling.
Better with age...