Addict’s Hope

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I’ve been attending a 12 Step group in the area, not so much to "Work the Steps" but to give hope to people who are in the group. I had been in 12 Step groups before and since receiving my identity in Christ, I’ve had a much different view of the whole program. When I attend now, I’ll hang back after the meeting and usually one or two people will come and talk with me. I give them the hope that is found in understanding their identity and knowing that they are not addicts – contrary to what is taught in the meeting. Each week I see the lights go on as people begin to understand the power of what Jesus came to do inside of them – dying to self and taking on his nature. I’ve also laid hands on people and seen various aches and pains go in Jesus’ name. It’s a lot of fun and very encouraging for me. A few weeks ago a young man in the group expressed a lot of discouragement and hurt and seemed to be at the end of his rope and close to death because of his addiction. He had experienced a lot of rejection and judgment and didn’t have much hope for the future. I wanted to talk to him and give him the hope I had, but at the same time I was respecting the group and not forcing my views on them or trying to "fix" anyone. Typically I’ll share what God is doing with me in the current week and the hope that I have. I have asked God to lead people back to me when they want to talk about this. The young man I mentioned did not come back after the meeting and I was tempted to go and track him down anyway. Instead I got engaged with talking with someone else and forgot about him. While I was talking he showed up. I was thrilled. God gave me the words to speak and I encouraged him with that, mostly prophesying his future as a new creature in Christ. Again I could see the lights going on. As we were going out together I asked him how he was doing. He said he felt a lot lighter, he seemed very hopeful. His mother also attends the meetings for her own issues and I found out we’d been attending the same church (Other than PCC). She was excited when I told her about the talk I had with her son. Just this past week we were at that church in a service when she came up to me (I didn’t recognize her at first and was a little startled as she made a bee-line for me during worship), She had tears in her eyes and she told me that her son had been clean in the weeks since I had seen him last, and was doing very well. I couldn’t have been more happy if he had been my own son. This totally caught me off guard as I had lost track of him and was busy with so many other things. In addition I was having a hard time getting into the worship in the service, This came up during worship time and needless to say it got a lot better after that! Thank you Jesus!

Submitted by Anonymous

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Confirmation

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What a great word about open doors! The night before Brian sent the church his word about open doors I was praying with a fellow brother – he for my situation and I for his – and the words “open doors” came up and we were both excited about it and stopped what we were praying for and began declaring the words "open doors" and quoting the scripture about God opening doors that no one could shut and closing doors that no one could open. We prayed the words over and over with command and praise knowing that we were having an effect on more than just our situations! There was something incredible about it and we were both laughing and excited. When I read Brian’s word the next day, I was very excited because where we were praying when we heard the words “open doors” was a type of church off of Philadelphia Street. A little nod from God I think! Anyway, the prophecy blew me away with the hope for something I have been believing God for, for a long time. Needless to say it was and is very encouraging. That was one confirmation of the word.

The next confirmation came along the next night in a different way.
After hanging out at Rapha, some friends and I went over to McDonald’s to continue chatting\debating things about God and to get something to eat. I was at the counter and I turned to ask my friends if they wanted apple pies and I heard a voice behind me say he wanted an apple pie. I turned to see someone who looked a little rough, in a gangster sort of way, and the fact the he even engaged me seemed a little strange, almost like he wanted to start a fight. In a short span of time I sensed evil, I went to God and was reminded to not turn away but to give love, so I said, “Sure, I’ll get you one.” When I went back to give him one, I said “the love of Jesus to you” and handed him, and his female friend, apple pies. I think he said something like “Christian huh?!” I said yes and he began to tell me how he had a better way and that he worshiped the pentagram – or words to that effect. He began to talk about how this had helped him more than Jesus. He was starting to get into his beliefs more and I listened and responded for a bit and could see that we were headed for a much longer discussion. I told him I had to get back to my friends who were waiting for the food. So I left.

As we were starting to eat, the man came over and I think he could tell we all were Christians and he began mocking our faith and pointing to his beliefs as the real power in this world. He said his name was Dollars and he said that he had tried all of that Christian stuff but it didn’t work for him. He said that he had found something better. He went into what he thought really rules this world. He claimed it was money and that he had found more power by worshiping the pentagram. My friends and I engaged him a bit about Jesus and what He had done. This just led to more arguing and debate about who was really in charge in this world. He didn’t seem fazed by anything we said. He even asked one of my friends to read some scripture which he turned into trying to show his evil was more powerful. At one point he grabbed the Bible to show that he wasn’t intimidated by it and proceeded to read the words backwards. We knew he was trying to rattle us. I sensed that he was sincere about what he was saying and I was a bit wary of him, mostly because I didn’t know how far gone he was and if he had some type of weapon on him or not. I was also a little uncomfortable because in my normally safe world I don’t encounter raw evil like this every day. I was encouraged as I saw my friends take him on and as I remembered that God is inside me and that we were having an effect on him too!

After we sort of came to a stalemate he went back to his side of the McDonald’s. We prayed for the Father to draw him to Him and prayed love over him. I was talking with the brother I had been praying the open doors with the other night and I told him I wanted to read him the word that Brian had sent out. I grabbed my phone and started to read it aloud, and when I did, Dollars came very quickly from across the room and said “Someone make him stop!” “You can’t read that!“ “It’s against my religion!” I told him he could go back where he came from and didn’t have to hear it. (He was simply trying to stop the word from being read) He got visibly upset and threw a tantrum, throwing my friend’s coffee cup up against the wall. My friend said, “Keep reading!” I kept reading while Dollars carried on. If you’ve read the prophecy you know it takes a long time to read. I read it all the while he carried on until his friend, and I believe some of the McDonald’s workers, got him to go outside.

There are more than a couple of things interesting about this, but here are a couple. First the group of Christians I was with were very diverse in beliefs and we usually spend more time in debate than anything else, sharpening each other, and yet there is a great love between all of us. I didn’t see it but after all the show was done one of my friends went up to Dollars and talked about the “debate” we just had and he expressed love to him, just like we do with each other when we debate. He said Dollars appeared visibly moved that we would love him after the conflict we just had.

The second thing that was interesting to me was the effect of the prophecy being read aloud. The person we were dealing with was distorting scripture, he was trying to use it to intimidate us, he tried to desecrate it by reading the words backwards and showing that he was not intimidated by scripture. Yet he was livid when the prophecy was read. The now word, the spoken word, the exciting word of God based on the partnership we have with Him really seemed to disturb Dollars more so than the scriptures we read out earlier. He did not like that the doors were being opened. I’m sure the awareness of what God is doing and His control in this situation set him off. I think there is great power when God brings His words alive in us and we speak the living words out. If making the enemy angry with your words is confirmation, then this was confirmation in a big obvious way!

Submitted by: Anonymous

Encouraging Visions

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Lately during worship, I have been seeing crazy visions. God is often showing me certain people with crowns set on their heads with certain gemstones which symbolize different things. He has also been showing me the aurora borealis lights entangled with gold dust and them representing His glory. Also during worship I have been in Heaven with the Father in a deep place where amazing things are going on, I can’t even explain what all I have seen but it is just so GOOD! This is a new and refreshing level to me, as he shows me encouraging visions for people around me.

Submitted by Brittany Bear

Mental Afflictions Will Vanish

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Mike Hutchings word regarding bipolar disorder & schizophrenia being healed as soon as those afflicted walk through the doors at Praise reminded me that I had a testimony I hadn’t even thought to share before. Beginning at age 19, I had been diagnosed with multiple mental disorders, particularly bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I had been on medication most of my adult life off and on. Per the suggestion of my primary doctor, I went to see a psychiatrist again last year. I happened to find the same psychiatrist I had seen who had diagnosed me with the above conditions. After my evaluation, he told me that I no longer exhibited the symptoms of bipolar disorder! The same doctor who told me I had bipolar disorder, was now telling me that I didn’t have it! What was the difference? JESUS!!! Between the first evaluation and the second, I had accepted Jesus as my Savior. I hadn’t done anything differently with my medication. In fact, most of those years, I hadn’t even taken it! The only difference was Jesus in my life, literally renewing my mind! Praise God!! About that same time, I made the decision to quit my job, and attend Bible school. Toward the end of my time at the unemployment office where I worked, I had been taking medication for my anxiety disorder almost daily. Within a month, I stopped talking it all together! I had no need for it anymore. Jesus had brought healing and deliverance once again! Now, 6 months later, I still haven’t taken any medication, and I have no symptoms! Praise Jesus, I’m healed!!!

Submitted by Sarah Torrez

A Young Prophet

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So I was talking to our young friend, Elijah, today about God and how awesome He is. (Elijah, by the way, is three years old). I love asking Elijah what God says about someone. He will stop and ask God. Then with boldness he will tell you what God says. Very prophetic. He tells people things that no one else would know other than God. So I was sitting on the couch reading the Bible. I was reading 1 Kings 17 to Elijah. I wanted him to hear about Elijah in the Bible. In the middle of  reading, Elijah butted in: "Zach, Zach! Zach!" "Yes Elijah?" "I died with Jesus a long, long time ago." Wow, Brittany and I just looked at each other for a few seconds in awe. What an amazing young prophet for God. Can’t wait to see what his life looks like.

Submitted by Zach Bear

Seeds of Encouragement

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I had the privilege of hanging out in Maryland over the weekend for a conference that is in progress at my friends’ church there. This was my first time back there since helping out with their women’s conference in September. For a while, I just felt out of place, and maybe like I was even in the wrong place.

But I had surprising favor, in all honesty, starting within minutes of walking in the front door. I went down with no concrete arrangements for staying the night, and just figured I’d go with the flow and if I stayed, I stayed. The first lady I saw was one I met in the Fall, who has a worship ministry (dance, flags and also jewelry). She did not recall exactly who I was at first, but then said, “OH you’re the one on Facebook that gave me that word.” Turns out it meant a great great deal to her. I’d forgotten about it actually. A few minutes later, she was offering to have me stay with her for the night if I didn’t have other arrangements, as she’d gotten a room at a nearby hotel, and her daughter was choosing to sleep at the pastor’s house. In the end, that’s where I laid my head that night. We spent much of Sunday together until service started mid-afternoon. We got to talk about a lot of things, some serious some not so much. We talked about families, church, and shared a few revelations. It was neat, because within an hour, I was able to encourage her daughter by all the praise and respect she had for her and the giftings she walked in. This was cool.

I went to dinner with a couple of the ladies I’d met, and one I’d stayed with in the Fall. We met another lady there, much to my surprise, who also had been at the women’s conference. We’d had some time to chat and pray near the end of that time. But I was unprepared for what I saw in her this weekend. God had done such a work. He’d restored her hope, her dreams and much more. We had many things in common, except that she’s an ordained pastor! It was so encouraging to me, to see how confident and peaceful and the increase in spiritual authority she was now walking in. I was so humbled to even think I was part of the process, I was starting to cry right in the restaurant. We got the chance to chat a little afterward, and encouraged each other as the weekend progressed.
Then I ran into a lady after worship yesterday, another who I’d spoken to back in the Fall. She had made such an impression on me when I’d been there, and I’d told her as much then. Here in the bathroom I remarked that I was hoping I’d see her again, and just reiterated the thing that had so impacted me before. She came back to me a bit later, and said "Thank you for saying that to me, that so encouraged me!" My mind was a bit bewildered. But she said it was encouragement she really needed. I wasn’t trying to this time!! I was just being friendly!! Now though, within just a minute or two of her walking away, I really did have a word for her – that was fun!

I’m submitting this, not to brag, but to encourage whoever is reading this. Take the time to sow your seeds, wherever you go, with whomever God puts in front of you. We often do not ever see the impact that those words of encouragement, smiles, kind acts, hugs, prophecies, etc., have on the ones we sown into–intentionally and unintentionally. Sometimes, He does bring us back around, I think to encourage us to keep sowing, to see the Work that He is doing in peoples lives and what our little piece of the puzzle was sowing into. You might never know the difference your time, your love, and your kindness had made in a person’s life. You might only be water seeds another sowed. You might get to water the seeds you sowed. And, who knows, you just might be the answer to someone’s prayer. And we don’t have to be in a "ministry"capacity; as Heidi Baker says: "just stop for the one." Blessings!

Submitted by Regina M.

Jesus Freak

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I have fought for some time with how to walk as a Christian at work so others see my life and just know Jesus walks with me. I don’t believe I need to be a Jesus-Freak, just a light. I have asked God for many years and through many jobs to show me how.
This week I had an awesome opportunity to walk as Jesus-through-David at work. There is a manager who I believe might be a Christian. I came home for lunch and felt led to write a note of encouragement. I believed God told me to tell him to walk with integrity, mercy and compassion, that the Father saw him and was proud of him, and to not get discouraged because things looked bad.

I wrote the note and stuck it in my pocket. Several times I went on walks to try and find him in the warehouse, but always others were around. Once I took the letter down to his office but he was talking to another supervisor and there were some f-bombs going off. Now I paused—this man is not showing fruit. I could get in trouble giving God-notes to managers.

Finally right before leaving, he was outside the bathroom and I told him I felt led to write something at lunch and not to get weirded out, just take it with a grain of salt. (What does that mean?) He read it and I ran off. But as I was leaving he was reading the note, and while walking with two others, he waved and said thanks.

As I was driving home, God reminded me that Jesus was not a freak. He was simply Jesus-walking-as-Jesus on this earth. The only identity I have to take on is David-walking-as-Jesus on this earth. I don’t have to be afraid. I just have to love people however the Father shows. I plant or water and God causes the increase. I have no clue what the note did to that man that day. But someone knows God loves them enough to ask another guy to pass him God-notes at work.

Submitted by David

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