Extend Grace

As the administrator and moderator of various social media groups, it is my job to ensure that communication within a group is topic-relevant and generally non-offensive (no swearing or name-calling). From time to time I have to resolve conflicts, and most often this occurs behind the scenes via private message. It can be very frustrating to have these conversations because while I hope people will always operate in maturity, they don’t. Everyone is at different places in their personal growth, so while maturity is preferable, it’s not always present. My biggest job is to extend grace to the offender to help them grow, which is often difficult as their behavior usually stems from misguided heart motives.

In a recent encounter, I spoke with a woman we will call “Amelia” about this very thing. She had a domineering approach in the group so I wrote her privately. We had a manageable discussion at first, and the conversation continued for a few days as I struggled to effectively communicate with her. I sought counsel from my wife and another trusted friend to help me walk the line to both extend grace and set clear boundaries.

The boundaries are pretty simple: this is what is and is not acceptable in the group and these are the rules you need to abide by. Period. This is a black and white line of clearly defined expectations that is easy to understand. To extend grace is a bit more difficult, as it means swimming in the gray area during each conversation. This individual was highly dogmatic in her approach which I have a hard time with, and it also didn’t mesh with the group. As one can guess, this dogma also made communicating a need for change difficult as well, and it was poorly received. My biggest struggle when doing this is that I have to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) but to me that means I extend grace. It means I do my best to promote, uplift, and not quench another’s fervor even when requiring change.

I once heard a pastor preach a message out of 2 Timothy, and a concept he shared has stuck with me since.  It comes from 2 Timothy 2:25: “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,”. When we give gentle instruction, we extend grace to our opponents and increase the likelihood they will actually hear our message and respond accordingly. How does this work? I believe it starts by assuming the other person has the best heart motive regardless of their actions, and then I speak to that motive.

graceIn this instance, I spoke to Amelia about the wonderful intentions she had and that I recognized those intentions for what they were. It also meant I explained that these intentions, while well-meaning, were not received by the group based on the method used to express her heart. I offered a suggestion as to how that motive might be more clearly received by others–and I repeated this same tactic almost every time I responded. By assuming the best, I pulled on the good Amelia was trying to bring to the group instead of focusing on how it fell short of expectations. The goal was to reinforce the positives, helping Amelia feel her heart was heard even if she had to change her approach.

Unfortunately, in those few days the conversation moved from civil to caustic, complete with threats, and in the end I blocked her both personally and from the group. While the negotiation ultimately failed, I still believe in the process. It would have been really easy to click a few buttons and block her right away, but this doesn’t make room for growth. I believe one of the big struggles in our day is that we can electronically write people off in a few moments.

Working through conflict and taking the difficulty head-on can go by the wayside, especially when moderators aren’t necessarily more mature or emotionally healed than everyone else. I believe this method–to purposefully extend grace–is the way Jesus helped people to grow and I believe it’s something we all can learn to do better. Think of a current situation where you could use this and see if it affects the outcome–you might be surprised at the results, and even if it fails, you have built someone up when you could have torn them down. It’s what Jesus would do. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.” (Matthew 12:20).

Even Simple People Can Meet Angels

Today’s article features a guest, Author and Prophet Matthew Robert Payne, who shares on his considerable experience with angels:

If there is something that fascinates Christians it is the subject of angels. I had been writing books for a few years when I produced a book called My Radical Encounters with Angels: Angels in the Flesh, Angels of Protection and More! and I was overwhelmed when it quickly became a bestseller in the angel section of Amazon.

My first encounter with an angel was when I was fourteen years of age and I couldn’t get to sleep one night. I had never had an issue with getting to sleep so after and hour of trying to get to sleep I got up and told my mother. She got up and gave me a sleeping pill. I went to bed and waited another hour before waking my mother up again. She was not happy!

She gave me one more pill and said that I had already had more then an adult dose of the pills and that if I could not get to sleep, I should pray and if I can’t still get to sleep, I should read some books. I went to bed and after an hour I was upset that I couldn’t sleep. It was 12 pm and I had seven hours before my father was due to get up.

I asked Jesus, “What is my angel’s name Jesus?”

Jesus replied, “Michael.”

“Thanks Jesus,” I said.

I held out my arm and said to the air, “Michael hold my hand please!”

As soon as I said that, something like electricity shot up my arm and the next thing I knew was I was waking up in the morning.

Do you know I was simply a child? I wasn’t anyone special but I had child-like faith. I believed that my angel held the answer to my sleeping problem. My mother had told me she couldn’t help me anymore and faced with 7 hours of staying up I was desperate.

I would say they are keys that you can glean from this.

First you would need to have faith and is best to have child-like innocent faith.

And secondly it would be good for you to be in a situation that needed an angel.

At one time I was being taught different ways to prophesy. One method was to pray for an hour and then write down scripture references that the Holy Spirit would give me for a person and their situation. I would then cut and paste the scriptures and ask Jesus to please prophesy around the scriptures and make sense of them to a person.

Another way I prophesied was to speak in the third person and prophesy over a person. And yet another way I would say Jesus says: and then type what Jesus says directly in the first person to them. It was around this time that Jesus taught me a fourth way to prophesy.

One day I was sitting down to do a couple of prophecy requests and I saw an angel appear to me. He had a scroll in his hands. I asked him what he was here for and what was written on the scroll. He told me the scroll had two prophecies for the two people that I had to prophesy over.

I asked him what I needed to do.

He told me that I simply need to open a Word file and take dictation for each of the people. I opened the computer and opened a Word file and the angel simply told me the prophecies from Papa God word for word. It was really simple and easy to do it this way as I didn’t have to exercise any faith of have any doubt that it was coming out right.

These angels came often, mostly when I needed to prophesy and when God wanted me to mix it up a bit.

The lesson we can learn from that is that I did not need faith to bring these angels to earth, and the fact that these angels did not come just to entertain me, but they came with a purpose. Many angels come to you with a purpose, even if it is just to encourage you.

I have been introduced to four angels that work closely with me now. One of the angels is a female angel called Bethany. She is really sweet. She is the angel that gives me all the subjects for the books I write and she works with the Holy Spirit to give me the contents of the books.  I had been speaking to her and interacting with her for a few months and early this year I was thinking about her and speaking to her when I saw a picture of the actress Keira Knightly flash up on my minds eye like a vision. I asked her what this was about and she told me that she looks like Keira.

Its funny, that even though I have the gift of spiritual sight, I don’t often really focus in on the visions of mine. I have met Jesus over two hundred times in visions and only seen his face clearly on two occasions when he wanted to show me something where I was going to learn something. I can tell you what colour robe a person (saint) or Jesus or and angel is wearing and I can tell you anything they have in their hands but I don’t often focus on faces.

I am a simple man of faith. I have written two books on my encounters with angels and other things. You can read them cheaply as they are 99 cents on Amazon Kindle. They are titled My Radical Encounters with Angels: Angels in the Flesh, Angels of Protection and More!, and My Radical Encounters with Angels Book Two: Meeting Angels, Witches, Demons, Satan, Jesus and More!

 

Matthew Robert Payne Prophet Author Signs Wonders Miracles Angels

 

Matthew Robert Payne is a prophet and a teacher of the Word of God.  Matthew shares on a blog and writes between six and eight books each year for the Kingdom of God. It is Matthew’s goal to introduce people to the prophetic, to share how people can become intimate with Jesus, and how they can learn to fulfill their destinies. You can see the books Matthew has written, read his blog, or request a prophecy off Matthew at http://personal-prophecy-today.com.   His books are available at Amazon.com via his Author Page.

You can also listen to an interview and discussion with Matthew on the Fire On Your Head podcast led and run by Steve Bremner.

Feathers From Heaven – Our Personal Story

Below is an excerpt from the first chapter of my book Feathers From Heaven–released on Amazon in Kindle and Print.

“The feathers from heaven began falling for me about ten years ago. The first time I ever saw one appear was in a church I attended while a student in their ministry school. I was at the front of the sanctuary chatting and praying for some people when I saw a tiny wisp of a feather appear in midair at around head height. We all watched as it floated slowly upwards, and then, as if by some trick of the light, the feather became hard to see and then disappeared altogether. I had heard of this phenomenon before but had never seen it. The miracle was pretty astounding.

The second time I found a feather from heaven was after I drove home from visiting a friend, who I am pleased to say is now my wife. She had some pretty intense spiritual activity going on at her house, and feathers, gold dust, and oil were appearing supernaturally with some level of frequency. At any rate, I got in the car and drove home at the end of a night of worship and prayer. As I got out of the car and looked back into the vehicle, a small brown and black feather was on the seat where I had been sitting! I lived in a city at the time and there weren’t any birds hanging around that would have conveniently deposited colored feathers inside the car, especially since there was no feather present when I first sat down! I remembered that when I first got in the car I had made a comment about an angel I had just perceived and had looked at the seat before sitting down. Interestingly enough the angel’s name was Herald and I suspect he was the one who had left the feather. I kept it in my Bible for years after that.

A number of years later, in 2009, I felt the Lord impress upon me to call a prayer meeting on the day of Pentecost. Only myself, my wife, and a friend showed up, but we all got touched by Holy Spirit. For the next week after I saw a feather float by at some point almost every day—once on the elevator at work, another few times randomly at home, and if I remember correctly, one appeared in my car! All of these were the tiny white wisps, but it was super encouraging to me to see visible fruit for what I had been praying and believing for—namely signs, wonders, and miracles.

Since then I have seen so many feathers I can’t even remember half of the times they have appeared. Sometimes it is when we are praying or doing something overtly spiritual; other times they just appear at random with no sort of special preparation or obvious spiritual precursor. One example of this is a day after my wife and I had been at a Christian conference in the area. We were cuddling on our bed streaming a TV show on our laptop when during the show a feather gently floated across the screen. I lightly pincered it between my thumb and forefinger then opened them to look at it. The feather was gone, but in its place, my fingertips were covered in golden sparkly dust. This dust quickly spread to cover that hand. I looked at the other hand and suddenly it was covered too. My wife held out her hands and they, too, were instantly covered. It finally stopped spreading when both of our arms up to the shoulders were covered in this fine, sparkly, beautiful golden dust. I can’t say I understood some deep purpose for that encounter, but it was certainly a nice surprise!

A few years ago I was a nurse case manager at an assisted living facility. I was talking to another nurse, one of my coworkers, about some of the miracles God was doing in our midst, and at that very moment, a feather appeared in midair and floated there. He was pretty astounded. Another nurse entered the office and he immediately started telling her all about it. It was so fun for me to hear him talk because his excitement was genuine. This other nurse wasn’t sure about it and asked him if he was trying to fool her. “Oh my God no, I swear on the Holy Bible it’s true!” he said with excitement. That comment still makes me smile to this day. There is something about the first time someone experiences a miracle that is so precious and real—the emotions are brutally honest, hard to hide, and the shock and excitement is such a joy to witness. The realness in someone comes to the surface because they aren’t hiding behind the masks we so often wear.

When I had just started to work on this book, my wife and I had the blessing of spending all afternoon and evening with a dear friend who was ordained by Ruth Ward Heflin. We spent hours discussing gold dust, gemstones, and hearing her share her own wonderful glory realm stories and memories with Ruth at the Campmeeting in Ashland, Virginia. It was a fantastically glorious time, and my heart was soaring. Late in the evening we prayed for my wife as she had been dealing with some health issues. As we began to break witchcraft off her, I had my eyes closed in prayer. When I opened them and looked down, a feather that was about two inches long had appeared on my arm and caught me totally by surprise. The angels were hard at work warring on her behalf! My wife was ecstatic and said, “They came for me!” She reported that her head felt better after the fact as well.

A few months later, we made some new friends in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho and met the senior pastors of Gateway Christian Fellowship who had their own exciting feather stories that they graciously shared with us, found in Chapter 7. I took some pictures of the feather in their story and was blessed to be able to use it as the cover picture for this book. Yes, the feather on the cover is a real feather from heaven! Not only that, but toward the end of that weekend, we had feathers appear in our hotel room after we had spent much of that time discussing the glory realm and signs, wonders, and miracles.

Feathers continue to appear on an ongoing basis—sometimes more frequent than others, but each time I am reminded of the Father’s love for me, the angelic protection that is around me, and that I am surrounded by a realm that is both unseen and highly active in my life. There is something special about this manifestation, both simple and elegant. It has the ability to turn our focus toward God at a moment’s notice, interrupting the daily doldrums with the breath of heaven. It is my hope that this book—the divine revelation, our stories, and the stories of others—will open this arena of miracles, angelic visitations, and the glory realm of heaven for every reader, and that they, too, would experience and see an increase in the manifestation of feathers from heaven.”

 

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If you enjoyed what you have read so far,   check out the complete book!  If you enjoy what you read, leave a positive review and help other readers locate the book.  Many thanks to you and may you be richly blessed with feathers from heaven!

Kindle version

Print version

 

Related Posts:

Faith and a Feather

 

Gems From Heaven:

Part 1: “Our Experiences”

Part 2: “What Do They Mean”

Part 3: “How Do I Know This Is God?”

Why I Love Gemstones From Heaven

Gemstones From Heaven Podcasts

 

 

 

 

 

Feathers From Heaven – The Book is Out!

I am excited to announce that my newest book
Feathers From Heaven
is finally out in print and Kindle!

We are living in exciting times—where signs and wonders are jumping off the pages of the Bible and people experience miracles in everyday life. Stories of crying statues, clouds of gold dust, and people being raised from the dead are increasing across the globe as Jesus of Nazareth displays His power through His Church.

Feathers have long been recognized in many cultures as being signs from God, portents of angelic activity, and messages from deceased loved ones. The Bible speaks of feathers as having a number of different meanings—all of which have relevance to daily life. Whether you regularly find heavenly feathers or have never heard of this phenomenon, this book will deepen your understanding of what they mean, why they matter, and how you can encounter this miracle for yourself. Come discover why feathers are falling from heaven!

 

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US Print: http://amzn.to/2aNw1Zj

US Kindle: http://amzn.to/2aBjox2

 

Here’s what you will find in this book:

Our Personal Story – This is our family’s personal story of how we started finding Feathers from Heaven.

The Meaning in the Manifestation – This takes a look at God’s plans and purposes through this miracle.

Discernment and Deception – This answers the question “How do I know this is God?”, providing wisdom to help navigate the miracles.

Ruffled Feathers – This addresses some common concerns and objections people have about this manifestation.

Feather Stories – This shares many stories from others recounting their miracle-moments finding heavenly feathers.

How Do I Get This To Happen? – This looks at how we can partner with God to encourage our own feather encounters.

Feathers from Heaven – This is a unique transdimensional feather story meant to expand our beliefs of what is possible.

I Will Never Be Afraid Again

I recently stumbled across a song by Basshunter while listening to one of my Pandora channels. The lyrics go as follows:

“I will never be afraid again, I will keep on fighting ’till the end.  I can walk on water, I can fly.  I will keep on fighting ’till I die.”

I had never heard the song before and it struck a chord in my heart.  My granddaughters now also love this song, and while we adjust the lyrics slightly to include never dying, there is something that touches me.  The song is a declaration that I live without fear and exceed the constraints I have learned to live under.

Matthew 19:26 says, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'”  We have gotten used to a world full of limitations–bodies that grow frail and die, natural laws that bind us, and matter that limits us. We were never designed to be trapped on earth but to steward it.  This earth that was once our domain has become our prison–but Jesus died to set us free.

Where once we were bound by the constraints of matter, Jesus showed us another way by taking authority over wind and waves and multiplying loaves and fish.  Where once we were bound by natural laws, Jesus showed us another way by teleporting, levitating, and walking on water.  Where once we were fated to grow old and die, Jesus showed us another way through resurrection, and where he said ” . . . whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:26).

I want to remind you today that you not afraid–you are an overcomer.  You are a fighter.  You can and will keep going–don’t stop until you reach your goals and achieve your dreams!  God has sent angels to watch over you, and given them orders to destroy every barrier in your path.  Your weapons are powerful to tear down every stronghold the enemy places in your path.  You will never be afraid again, never bow down again, and never die.  You are completely filled with Holy Spirit who gives you limitless power to make this earth like heaven.  I encourage you to let this song fill your soul with hope as you go forth and change the world!

To Raise or Not to Raise

As I go through life, I occasionally chance upon an opportunity to try to raise the dead.  In most cases the body is an animal, but at times an opportunity presents itself with a human as well.  Whether man or beast, a primary issue that comes up is whether or not to even attempt a resurrection–everything else is secondary.

When deciding to attempt to raise the dead, I have a few main criteria.  The first is time: Do I have the time I will need to give a fair attempt at resurrection?  I prioritize humans over animals, so I am willing to rearrange more of my life and cancel other commitments if a human dies.  Although I dearly love animals, I am not willing to do the same with them in most cases.  Additionally, this means I will spend far more time praying for humans to resurrect than animals, although I believe that time-spent is an important factor in whether resurrection will be successful or not.

My second criteria is the amount of time that has passed: How long have they been dead?  God does not limit how long someone can be dead before they are resurrected, but we also need to consider practical life-circumstances involved.  At least in the USA, there are laws and statutes in regards to managing and burying dead bodies.  Additionally, I have no intention of keeping rotting animal corpses in a pile in my back yard on the off-chance that one of them will eventually resurrect.  I have a three-day policy for dead animals, but with humans it just varies depending on the situation.  Why three days? It’s a practical number, not a spiritual one–we have worked out an arrangement that I don’t keep dead animals around for more than three days–thus, total time lapsed does play a part, at least for me.  Day 1 is the day I find them and I am interested and engaged.  Day 2 I am usually still pretty engaged. Day 3 my wife is asking me how much more time I am going to give this before I give up (if she hasn’t already asked me on Day 2), and at this point the animal’s body is starting to show some more obvious signs of breakdown.  In the case of a human, I should note that air conditioning, embalming fluid, and other related factors play a part in lengthening the time before decay is noticeable, and this makes it a little easier to extend the time for prayer–at least in the U.S.A.

My third criteria is access:  Do I have the ability to pray over the actual body?  Do I have a family member that I can get permission from?  People die every day–what separates the ones I plan to pray for from the ones I don’t pray for is whether someone is involved in the resurrection attempt.  It is literally that simple.

My fourth criteria is cost:  Is it going to be worth it to resurrect this person?  This is probably the most difficult pill to swallow for some, and I struggle internally over this one at times, but it’s a practical consideration that I believe must be addressed, at least at this point given our limited-but-growing success in resurrection as the Church.  Let me give a personal example.  My grandfather died in the beginning of 2015.  My grandfather lived on the opposite side of the United States when he died, didn’t believe in divine healing, and I never went to pray for him before he died for him to be healed.  Most of my family are believers, but very few of them believe firmly in resurrection, and between my mom and her four siblings, my step-grandmother, all of my cousins, second cousins, etc., most of them were present at the funeral.  Attempting to resurrect him would have created so many issues in the family–both with my parents as well as the grand number of other people I just listed, that I personally was not willing to pay the cost for something I wasn’t very emotionally invested in to begin with.

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Counting the cost is an important part of the resurrection criteria–and in some cases I think it might actually be the most important part.  In Luke 14:28-30 Jesus said “’Suppose one of you wants to build a tower.  Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.””  It is unreasonable and unwise to consider resurrection if we do not first count whether we are willing to take the potential consequences that come with our efforts.

I know a woman whose husband died a number of years ago.  She lives in a small town and everyone knew about it by the time she had to call it quits on the resurrection effort.  She is still believing for her husband to be raised, but things were never the same for her after she took a stand and stepped out in faith believing in God’s promise of abundant life, and it has had a not-entirely-positive impact on her relationships with those in her community.  I do not say this to scare people off, but to be clear up front that it’s not all roses, puppies, rainbows, and unicorns when we step out in faith attempting resurrection, and there are real-life risks and issues we need to be aware of and prepared for as best as we can.

While I am not fearful of risk, per se, each situation is different, and this is where wisdom and discernment come into play.  It is always God’s ultimate will for each person to experience abundant life and to never die–Jesus paid for it and stated multiple times in the gospel of John that his will was for people to never die and live forever. We never have to question God’s will in that regard, but in spite of this idealistic and highest reality that we strive for, we must walk out the journey with wisdom, which includes counting the cost in advance where possible.

If you want to learn more about how to raise the dead, or are interested in joining communities of believers online who are passionate about resurrection and the abundant life of Christ, please consider the following links and resources:

Raise the Dead Initiative

Oneglance Ministries
The Dead Raising Team

Raise the Dead Initiative – Facebook Group
Dead Raising Team – Facebook Group

David Hogan – DRT Conference Messages
David Hogan – Faith to Raise The Dead Messages
Revival Magazine Article on Raising the Dead

                       

 

The Weight of Sorrows – Emotional Roots of Physical Disease

I talked to a coworker recently when she shared that her back hurt, but as strange as it might sound,  she thought it hurt because she was stressed about her divorce. More specifically she was having a hard time filing her divorce paperwork due to issues converting scanned files into appropriate electronic format to file and this was causing her great stress. I told her I didn’t think it was strange at all, and began to explain about the emotional roots of physical disease and how our bodies store emotions.
For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, emotions are a somewhat ethereal in nature, and are somewhere between spiritual and physical in nature. As such, while they get stored in various organs and tissues, they don’t have an obvious physical form like the natural elements do. This is true of both positive and negative emotions, and the book of Proverbs has a number of verses that speak on how various emotions affect different parts of the body.

 

Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” A heart that is filled with joy is good for the complexion. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” A cheerful heart helps keep us healthy, but our bones are negatively influenced when the world weighs us down. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Peace brings life to the body, but envy is harmful to the skeletal system as well–because envy is stored in our bones! The end result of emotions stored in organs will vary based on the emotions stored there. For example, someone who is bitter may very well get arthritis because they have chosen to lock in on their negativity, so their joints become locked and deformed. There have been stories of people who, upon forgiving someone and releasing the bitterness and judgments, were instantly healed of their arthritis. Likewise, many other negative emotions can be stored in the body and cause health problems. Interestingly, when someone cries because they are sad, the chemical composition of their tears are actually different than when their eyes are simply watering because actual emotions are being released through the salts in the tears.
In my coworker’s case, she felt, and probably accurately so, that the emotional burden she was carrying was making her back hurt, which isn’t surprising from a prophetic or interpretive perspective if we figure that the lumbar spine is designed for load-bearing–although not for emotional weight. If we don’t deal with our emotions, they WILL express themselves, but will trickle down from the emotional realm into the physical body, and will manifest accordingly. There are a number of different books that talk about this heart-body connection, but my wife and I use two books when we are looking up what emotions might be connected with physical ailments we are experiencing, Feelings Buried Alive Never Die by Karol Truman, and Heal Your Body by Louise Hay (see the links to the books at the end of the article) These are not “guaranteed” to be correct, but oftentimes resonate with us and help us process through the emotions.

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In the case of my coworker, we had some time to talk privately, so I took the time to share some things I felt like God was showing me about how she was feeling, and conversationally prophesy over her the message of life and hope that God had for her, helping remove the burden of guilt and shame that she had been carrying. Given what I have shared above about releasing negative emotions, I was pleased to see that she began to cry as I spoke words of encouragement and strengthening to her, knowing that God was helping heal the very problems that had been troubling her heart and causing her pain. While I did not ask whether her back pain improved at that time or not, I was heartened to see the goodness of God in action, as it was said of Jesus “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out” (Matthew 12:20a).

 

It is important that we understand God’s nature when it comes to dealing with emotions. Jesus’s solution to problems was to “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30). When we take upon ourselves his ability to rest our souls, our problems can heal and we are set free. I usually use a short prayer, adapted from Praying Medic, to help swiftly resolve negative emotions. One of the books I mentioned earlier, Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, also has some really good formula-prayers to help work through and resolve negative emotions and are a good place to start when struggling with difficult emotions or when seeking physical healing for any malady.

 

Below are the books I referenced in the article that have useful information to help with emotional healing.

 

A More Excellent Way is a book by Pastor Henry Wright that deals with this subject matter here.  His book explains systematically how our beliefs and feelings influence our health.

The Rainbow Angel

Today’s blog features a guest writer, missionary Jonathan Brenneman, who is also a blogger and author.  In this article he shares some of his experiences learning about spiritual gifts, and an encounter he had with an angel during this process.

 

Impartation

It seems I have experienced the most impartation just by being around people who are exercising various gifts of the Spirit, seeing the gifts in action, and thanking God for them. Somehow, it seemed that this grace rubbed off on me and the same thing started to happen in my life.

When I first became involved in healing the sick, I spent many hours reading testimonies of healing. Sometimes I would read testimonies for three hours until I was either laughing or crying. It is important to thank God for the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and to focus on the goodness of God that is revealed through those manifestations. That is the main point! There is a principle that whatever we thank God for tends to increase. We value what we are thankful for.
We should always thank God for whatever the Holy Spirit is doing. When our focus is on the work of the Holy Spirit, we are walking in faith. We grow strong in faith as we give thanks to God. When we are around other people who are exercising a specific spiritual gift, we can see how it blesses people and we begin to focus on what the Holy Spirit is doing in that area.

The Discernment Of Spirits

This was how the gift of discernment of spirits began to operate in my life. The gift of discernment of spirits allows us to sense, in some way, what is happening in the spiritual realm. This is often related to seeing how the Lord uses angels to minister to people. It can also show us when a demon is interfering in a person’s life, so that the demon can be rebuked and dealt with. This gift is the ability to see or feel spiritual things.

I met a young guy whose eyes had been opened to see angels. Some of what he said sounded a little strange, but I could see how it was blessing and encouraging people. It made me desire this gift in a greater way.

While he was speaking, I looked at the other side of the building and with my naked eye I saw a 40 foot long rainbow across the wall. Ten minutes later, this guy said that he saw a rainbow-colored angel in a certain place, and it was there to strengthen and encourage people to remember God’s promises. He asked people who felt discouraged to go and sit in the place where he saw this angel. As the people were sitting there, I again saw all the colors of the rainbow flash across the head of a man sitting there. God was working to encourage him.

That was the only time I saw something like this with my natural eyesight, but I became aware of the presence of angels in other ways. I would feel a wind blowing on part of my body which showed me where someone had a sickness or injury. People began to see angels around me or in my house. People I prayed for would feel a hand on their bodies even though I was not touching them, and they would be healed.

If you have never experienced the gift of discernment of spirits, you may easily wonder “What’s the point?” When I saw this gift in operation I understood how it encourages people and causes us to thank God for what he is doing. It can help us discern what God is doing so that we can pray in agreement with his will. It can show us when an evil spirit is harassing someone so that we can rebuke it. Seeing the gifts in operation helps us to understand and value what the Lord is doing through them.

 

Jonathan Brenneman

 

Jonathan Brenneman is a missionary in a fairly dangerous part of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  He has a blog called Go To Heaven Now, and is the author of multiple books–“Power and Love Sandwich” and “I Am Persuaded.”  His book trilogy titled Go To Heaven Now is expected to be out in the future.  Jonathan’s blog shares an honest and up-front perspective on his walk of faith, including both the struggles and victories as a missionary sharing the power and love of Jesus in his city.

Struggling to Accept the Goodness of God

While reading Tyler Johnson’s book “How to Raise the Dead” a few months back, I hit upon a section where he talks about the goodness of God–and how when we are afraid of God, specifically afraid that God is going to harm us in any way, we lack understanding about God’s nature. Whether one cares to raise the dead or not, this passage struck a chord within me.

I recall quite clearly the first night I ever experienced gemstones appearing from heaven. Jewels were literally falling all around us–both appearing on the floor and falling from midair. At one point I lay on the ground and said “Hit me God,” expecting and hoping that gems would fall on me. As I lay there, fear began to creep in. I had seen some large stones–one of which was fist-sized, and began to get afraid that God would drop a large one on my groin, stomach, or face.

On some level we might think “that’s absurd–why would God do that?” but the fear was there nonetheless. When it did happen a minute later or so, they fell on my left shoulder instead, and I felt relieved. For whatever reason, that moment has stuck with me. How could I be so afraid that God was going to harm me like that? What made me believe that God would be so cruel? It was a stark juxtaposition if we consider that we were having jewels lavishly thrown at us, and here I was afraid that they would hit my family jewels instead.

That was years ago, but even to this day I struggle on some level with accepting God’s goodness, and I am pretty sure I’m not alone. For some reason, it is far easier to believe that God is cruel, mean, or unkind than it is to believe that he is first of all pure, peace-loving, considerate, and full of mercy (James 3:17). Something about our experiences with others–and often with our own fathers, has taught us that God can’t be trusted, can’t be kind, and will generally return our desires for his affection with anger. It’s sad, really. And consciously, I know it’s not true, but there remain places within me that struggle to accept what I understand is quite clearly God’s nature of pure love.

Even as I was reminded of this event, and the fear and trepidation I had associated with those moments, I found myself appreciative that God brought it to my memory. I truly believe that in order for us to gain a deeper revelation of God’s goodness, we need to be healed of the emotions and transform our beliefs that suggest His nature is contrary. When God reveals to us the areas of darkness within our hearts and minds, it isn’t to create shame or show us how unworthy we are–God already knows we struggle with value and identity and sin and shame. He isn’t interested in pointing out our flaws for any reason other than to make us pure and to set us free.

goodness mercy miracles immortality

I believe that a revelation of God’s goodness is important pertaining to resurrection of the dead, but it hits on every aspect of our lives–how we deal with conflict, lack, troubling circumstances, death, anger, fear, rejection, anxiety, hopelessness, depression, and every other problem or emotion that exists. I believe that God’s goodness is a foundational truth that God, in His great love and mercy, is restoring to the Church so that we as the Body can live the abundant, overcoming life He has promised us again and again. I highly recommend Tyler’s book, as I believe it presents one of the clearest and most complete perspectives on God’s goodness, but whether you read the book or not, I encourage each and every reader to look at your own beliefs about God. Do you feel the Father treats you like Jesus? Every area where you feel God the Father treats you differently than Jesus would is an invitation to pray that God reveals His heart and heals hurt places deep inside and to help us turn toward truth, grace, and love.

I believe God is preparing us as the Body to walk in unprecedented levels of signs, wonders, and miracles, and it all begins with a renewed mind so that we can walk in our identity as the much-loved sons and daughters of the King–the beloved with whom He is well pleased. Go in peace.

 

Celebrity Resurrection

I have been pursuing dead-raising in a somewhat intentional fashion for the past five years, and I founded a Facebook group called Raise The Dead Initiative toward that end.  Currently there are about 1600 members, and various members have had the opportunity to pray for resurrection a number of times. In the past five years I have learned a few things about resurrection that I feel are important to share, but in this post I want to focus specifically on what I call “Celebrity Resurrection” and some wisdom and thoughts surrounding the subject.

Every now and again some high-profile individual dies.  Sometimes they are well-known and other times they might be someone whose death-tale has appeared on a local news channel, but invariably one of my group members will post a message such as “This person just died. God can do ANYTHING! Let’s pray for life!”  In and of itself that’s a wonderful idea.  And yes, God can do anything.  However, praying for that individual is extremely impractical and there is little to no personal investment investment of this type of prayer request.  Does God have a rule requiring “personal investment” to resurrect people?  Not per se, but I believe it is an important principle, and the subject does go a bit deeper than a yes/no question.

praying

First, there is the matter of resources–do we have the time, energy, and ability to pray for the person?  You see, people die every single day.  What makes this celebrity more in need of resurrection than the elderly single woman down the street who just passed away?  If we are hunting bodies to raise, it seems much more sensible to form relationships with local mortuaries, possibly even finding Christian morticians who would be willing to partner with us.  I simply do not have the time or energy to hunt down new dead bodies on a weekly basis, and celebrity resurrection seems to be exactly that, minus one small thing: a body, which brings us to the next problem.

My second issue with celebrity resurrection is access.  I generally only pray if someone is actively involved in the resurrection.  This could be someone seeking prayer for favor to gain access to a body, or it could be someone who currently has access who is seeking a successful resurrection–it doesn’t matter to me which it is, I am on board.  If someone isn’t either attempting access through a family or going to physically pray over the dead body, at this time I am simply not interested in participating, as there seems to be little chance of success.

This is probably one of the more controversial of the issues surrounding resurrection.  Some people say “But Michael, God can do anything. Don’t you want to believe him for the impossible?”  Yes, I do–that’s why I pray for resurrection in the first place.  I do, however, have to pay attention to my own time and steward it well.  I have a wife, grandkids who are with us 4 or more days every week, I am a nurse with a full-time job, and I am a writer.  I keep fairly busy–and adding what I consider to be pointless activities for the sake of acting spiritual seems like poor stewardship to me, not to mention a great way to burn out.  God can raise people if we pray from a distance.  God can teleport bodies back above ground after they have been buried (I stop after they have been buried) and then resurrect them.  God can take cremated bodies and reform them from almost nothing (I also stop after they have been cremated).  God can do so many amazing, abundant, extravagant, and wonderful things!  I simply don’t feel led at this juncture in my life to spend a lot of time and energy on those “extravagant” versions of resurrection when I have yet to resurrect even a single body of the ones I have prayed for who had relatively intact bodies that were above ground.  I am open to the above ideas, but at this time I would need to hear specific instruction from God if they are cremated or buried before I am willing to pray for resurrection.

My third reason for not engaging in celebrity resurrection is related to the access issue, but is more about personal involvement.  Back in 2011 there was a man of God in the Seattle area who passed away and his wife, his church, and an entire Christian community were part of a prayer effort for his return to life.  While the effort failed and he ended up being buried, everyone involved was committed to his return during the entire process of the attempted resurrection.  I almost drove three hours north to physically join in, and while I forget now why I did not, I think it had to do with my full-time job and full-time nursing school schedule at the time.  The point of this story is that people were engaged and involved.  Most of the time, celebrity resurrection prayers have no personal responsibility and almost no involvement, and as such I am not interested.

As I mentioned in the beginning, one thing I have come to firmly believe over the years is that resurrection requires personal investment.  All of the bodies I have physically prayed over to date have been animals–some were pets, and others were intact roadkill that I pick up from time to time to attempt resurrection, but regardless of how I came upon the body, my heart is involved.  I believe resurrection must come from a place of love, not a place of showmanship.  I look forward to the day I can share photos with you all of a deceased body, whether human or animal, that I have raised to life by the power of Christ, but publicity cannot be my primary goal– I must be motivated by love.  My perception is that celebrity resurrection usually lacks a love for the person and their family, and is more about their celebrity status.  If I knew someone had access to the family or the celebrity’s body, I would be 100% on board with the resurrection, but lacking one of those things I will not get involved.  Regarding emotional investment I do have some good news–it is not difficult to find a heart of love for the person or animal I am attempting to resurrect.  I usually start by reminding myself of God’s ardent desire for life, and I connect with His love and desire for resurrection from there, and start praying.

In writing this article, I am sharing my heart and my honest thoughts, but there is always a risk, because while speaking from my heart there is the risk of dampening another’s faith for the spectacular.  My heart is never to diminish God’s goodness, nor to downplay His abilities, but to attempt to bring a practical hand to this somewhat uncharted territory and try to provide wisdom as we navigate this learning process together.  If the reader feels led to pray over a grave or a cremation urn, go for it!  I do not think most people will feel led to do this, nor do I find it sensible if God isn’t leading one in that direction, but at no time am I creating a rulebook by which we must act.  I believe God has plans to resurrect those in graves, those cremated, the long-dead, and even those in mass-graves from war and genocide.  I am looking to a future where the Church’s understanding of resurrection is vibrant and healthy to the point that it is more uncommon that people remain dead than that they come alive.

If you want to learn more about how to raise the dead, or are interested in joining communities of believers online who are passionate about resurrection and the abundant life of Christ, please consider the following links and resources:

Oneglance Ministries
The Dead Raising Team

Raise the Dead Initiative – Facebook Group
Dead Raising Team – Facebook Group

David Hogan – DRT Conference Messages
David Hogan – Faith to Raise The Dead Messages
Revival Magazine Article