Monday, September 22, 2014

Prayer Ministry: Durham, NC

As mentioned before, occasionally I go online and attempt to find viable prayer ministries throughout the country. All Saints Church, an Anglican congregation in Durham, NC, appears to offer solid healing prayer support for those in need.

You can check them out here.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Beyond "Salvation"

For years, I remained under the impression that salvation was merely a short "I confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior," and nothing more. 

It wasn't until I heard a comment, "Most Christians today are only about 30% converted," made by Francis MacNutt, co-founder of Christian Healing Ministries, when I began to question why Jesus went from town to town and healed people wherever He went. 

After all, if confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior was enough for the people of Israel to be saved, then why was there a need for healing? And why were they so desperate for it? Dr. Thomas Constable with Dallas Theological Seminary estimates that in the three and half years before Jesus died, He ministered to and healed three and a half million people.

The answer to the above questions is simple. Salvation is not just about being rescued from our sins. God continues to save us when He restores us to health. We are saved when God heals us from our deepest emotional pain. And we are saved when are set free from the chains of addiction. 

You see, every time we are healed, we have the opportunity to become a little more like Jesus. This is true conversion--that we, day by day, and even moment by moment, are transformed into the image of Christ. We go from glory to glory, and it's that radiance of the Holy Spirit which comes from the healing that flows from our hearts and reaches out to those around us searching for God even if they are not aware they are searching. 

Strongholds (addictions, negative beliefs, bad habits, fear, judgment, anger, etc.) hold us back in life. They block the flow of the Holy Spirit, and in turn, our effectiveness as Christians is diminished because we cannot really practice what we preach to others. If we are honest enough to admit it, we really cannot even reach the world with Christ's love, either. So, it's essential to deal with strongholds. It's essential to deal with anything that keeps us conformed to the image of the world, actually. 

We must understand as Christians the depth of the word, "salvation." We must also understand the
meaning of the words, "conversion" and "transformation." We cannot claim ignorance. And we cannot say it's enough that "I already made Jesus my Savior, and I'm going to Heaven." 

When we become believers in Jesus, we also, in that moment of confession, begin to align ourselves to eventually become servants in the Kingdom of God. Jesus once asked a blind man, "Do you want to be well?" That is the question I present to you today. Do you want to be well? To be free? To love? To be completely converted? 

Just food for thought. 

Be blessed today. 


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Learning & Autism

I'll never forget the time when I tried to pull away from the bank's drive thru window in my father's Volvo, which weighed a ton. And oh yeah, it was a stick shift. 

In case you don't know, a Volvo doesn't move with just a tap of the gas pedal as you ease off the clutch. It's pop the clutch and punch the gas with lightning speed, but if you can't do this, you sit in a parking lot all day. 

Which is what happened in my case, with more than a few cars waiting behind me. I was mortified. Convinced I couldn't learn to drive. Convinced I was a failure. 

My father, on the other hand, wasn't convinced and he ordered me, above my yelling, to try to put the car in gear one more time. Well I did, and finally got that tank of his to move at least a few feet away from the drive thru before stalling out again. 

What's the point of this story? It's that my dad knew then what Sal Khan knows now. Basically, he (my dad) understood that human intelligence is not fixed. People are capable of learning all the time. Literally. Unfortunately not all people agree on this point, and for those in this camp who have autistic kids, they severely diminish their child's capacity to live a richer and fuller life in years to come. 

By the way, within a few days, I was able to drive that car. It's kind of an important point because I've met parents of autistic kids who refuse to even allow their very capable children to bike ride let alone drive. At some point, I do hope people can realize that there's a difference between keeping a person alive versus letting her live.

Disability does not have to mean intellectual death. Perhaps a great deal more effort has to go into the process, but autistic people can and will learn if they are taught. Please make every effort to teach your children and to teach them well. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Prodigal Goes Home

The winds of change are blowing again. Hard. In my last post, I wrote about moving into a home that I was to share with two other single ladies in Jacksonville, Florida. But God had other plans. 

Just a few days after that post, I ran an errand to my church, but on the way home without even thinking, I suddenly hopped onto 295 North and ended home. My Charleston, South Carolina home, that is. The city I left four years ago thinking I would never live here again. but this is where I've been for the past three weeks and counting.

It didn't take long to see that I pretty much came back as a prodigal. When I left, I thought the whole world had rejected me because of an autism label. The truth is, autism had nothing to do with it. I was angry and bitter, and the people in my life had had enough of it all. And rightfully so. 

As a result of seeing myself a little more accurately, I have been on a mission over the last few weeks. I am searching out those who were the most wounded by my behavior and words and am asking for their forgiveness. I used to just apologize to people and not really have any idea what the offense was, but all of the pain I caused is so clear to me now. So this is not just saying, "I'm sorry." This is, "You were wronged. This is how. And you will never have to be on the receiving end of that from me ever again. Period." 

These past several weeks, I've been worshiping at the same church I thought I had left behind for good. What is amazing to me is that God transformed my heart so much that somehow it has changed me outwardly. Many--and I do mean many--people I interacted with quite a bit only four years ago do not even recognize me. We talk easily as if we've always been friends, and so I've chosen not to remind them of who I was. 

Because..I am not who I was. Sometimes it's better to leave the past in the past and simply start anew. It's true that the old can fall away and we really can become new creatures in Christ--just as He promised. Thank you, Lord Jesus.

St. Andrew's, I am grateful for you. And I love you.

So, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.  ~Matthew 5:23-24