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Do You Live in a Hard Spiritual Area?

Years ago I was very much involved in the "spiritual warfare movement!"  I won't go into all of the details suffice it to say that spiritual warfare dominated my time and ministry. Since coming into revelations of grace I have since begun learning just how complete Christ's victory at the cross was for us.  When He said, "It is finished" I now believe that He meant what He said!  How about you?

Since coming into revelations of grace, with many more revelations to come, by the way, I've discovered that verses like Colossians 2:14-15 mean a lot: "He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.  In this way, HE DISARMED the spiritual rulers and authorities.  He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross." So if Christ has disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities, why o why does the Church spend so much time fighting against a disarmed, shamed, defeated adversary?

Back in the days of Corinne and I traveling the country, ministering in churches all over the nation, we would often meet pastors for the first time.  Most of our meetings were booked because one pastor knew another pastor and would recommend us to minister in their church.  We would often pull into town the day prior to the meetings beginning, at least we tried!  I recall in the early days when we were first learning how to book meetings that we often would have to drive 12-15 hours and often have meetings that night.  Thankfully we were able to see that change early on!  Glory!  However, we'd pull into a town, hook up our motor home and often have lunch or dinner with our host pastor.  In just about every instance something like these words would soon come from that pastor, "The Lord's shown me that our region is one of the most spiritually dry regions in the country!"  In other words he/she was saying to us, "Brother Larry, Sister Corinne....don't expect too much out of our church as God has shown me that our community is in the midst of the most spiritually dead areas in the country!"  Can you say, "Excuse?"

Corinne and I used to get a pretty good laugh over these pastor encounters.  We had it happen dozens and dozens of times.  We used to ask each other, "It is amazing how many most spiritually dead areas in the country there really were!

Allow me to conclude with more of Paul's words, "You have died with Christ, and he HAS set you free from the spiritual powers of this world." (Colossians 2:20)  I don't know what you think, but I'd have to say that the need for spiritual warfare ended 2000 years ago at the cross!  Therefore, instead of making excuses why nothing is happening in our church, maybe we should just begin to go forward as the spiritual giants that we really are and take the land that we were given!  I think that this is a great idea for today!  What thinkest thou?

Grace and peace!

Why Doesn't Everyone Get Healed? Part 2

To begin, I'd suggest that in order to fully understand this post that you would scroll down and read the first in the series.  That way you will be reading this in full context!

The title is, "Why Doesn't Everyone Get Healed?"  This title is a little confusing because I believe that everyone does get healed, no matter what the symptoms of the day look like.  Listen, even in death there is healing!  I know some do not understand that, but to a Believer in Christ, death is no longer an enemy!  So, if you are indeed a Believer you can never be defeated by health issues, never!

As I stated in the first post, when I was told that I had cancer in my mouth my little world came to a screeching halt!  The first thing I had to face is that my life for sometime to come would look very different than it did prior to the prognosis.  I sure was correct on that!  Wow!  How things have changed!  Everything in my life is different now than it was even six months ago!  To be honest, some things will never return to the normal of those days.  For instance, I had to have all of my lower teeth pulled prior to radiation because after radiation I'm not allowed to have any major dental work done for a period of two years!  So, a person like me, who enjoys good food is now relegated to not eating the same.  For instance, I had a grilled cheese sandwich last night for supper.  I have to cut it up and soak it in soup in order to eat it!  See what I mean?  So if you are going through any major health issues, be prepared for a changed life!

Saying that, I fully believe that God has healed me!  Even though I still have some of the tumor remaining, I am fully convinced that I was healed 2000 years ago.  Why I'm still dealing with symptoms I have no idea, but it doesn't diminish my faith if Christ's works for me one bit!

I have many people praying for me.  I so appreciate that!  However, I was very careful, especially in the early days in asking for prayer!  What I didn't want was a bunch of "good ideas" on how to get rid of cancer!  Here is a fact....I CAN hear from God!  Guess what? So can you!  So when the Job's Comforters show up on the scene telling you that you must have secret sin in your life, or that you are not quoting enough Bible "healing verses" or that you just do not have enough faith, etc., etc., you can just turn your face from that nonsense because if you did indeed have a problem in one of those areas God would make it plain to you!

Listen, healing is not a big mystery!  You don't have to perform, do everything just right, in order to be healed.  If you are going down a road like that, please know that you are totally on the wrong road!  The New Covenant is one of rest and peace!  If you are experiencing anything other than rest and peace you are indeed on the wrong road!  If you are under condemnation you are especially on the wrong road!

A couple of years ago, a dear Brother in our church, Bruce, was diagnosed with a very vicious cancer. It seemed like just a couple of weeks after the cancer was made known Bruce began physically going down hill, really fast!  Our church ministered to Bruce in every way we knew how to.  We prayed, laid hands on him many times.  We counseled him to the very best we could, but Bruce continued to get more frail daily! Finally, within a few weeks he was completely bed ridden.  Several families brought food in for he and his wife, including Corinne and I.  One late afternoon we brought over the evening meal.  I could tell Bruce was very troubled.  He was totally condemned by the fact that he wasn't healed!  I felt that the Lord would have me to say to Bruce that he was OK!  In fact, I told him that it was even OK for him to die!  As I continued to encourage Bruce I could see the condemnation breaking off of him.  A few days latter Bruce passed away.  He did so completely within the perfect will of God!  I know that is very hard for some strong Charismatic faith people to swallow, but it is truth anyway!  It was time for Bruce to go home and remain for eternity in God's physical presence.  Who cannot say that Bruce was perfectly healed at that time?  I sure can't!

Here's a word of advice...stay away from Job's Comforters!  They are religious people who will only lead you into condemnation!  Listen to the Holy Spirit within you.  If he wants you to eat different food then he will tell you.  If he wants you to quote "healing verses" he will tell you.  If he wants you to see Doctor X over Doctor Y he will tell you!  Then my friend, rest!  God is in charge of your destiny!

So here is how I am doing this thing.  I'm living, trying my best, to live and overcome one day at a time.  I am following the doctors in my life, taking and heeding their treatment and advice.  However, I'm doing all of this, with one eye on Jesus, because I know that any day the full miracle of the manifested healing in my body can take place.  You see I fully expect to one day spit the remaining tumor out on the ground!  If it comes any other way, well, I'm OK with that too.  I just know that I was healed!  I also know that you were too!  Glory!

Grace and peace!

Why Doesn't Everyone Get Healed?

I have waited a long time to write this post!  I've done a lot of soul searching, praying, meditating, reading my Bible, etc. in order to investigate this subject more fully.  So, this isn't some knee jerk reaction to things that are going on within my body!

First, I have to state that I do believe in the healing properties of God! Without a shadow of doubt I embrace this as I've  seen way too much to not believe in it!  In all of my years of ministry I have prayed (ministered to) maybe hundreds of people who have been healed as I've laid hands on them.  Even members of my own family have been healed, including my wife and children.  I remember well they day the doctor told my wife that she did have cancer and that now she doesn't.  This didn't come from medical treatment, but rather from the ministry of the Holy Spirit!  I've been healed of many things over the years as well, from bad head colds to severe back problems, and some issues worse that that!  So, yes, I am a believer in the healing power of God!

So when I was told this past January that I had stage 2-3 cancer in my mouth, my little world was shocked, yet my faith in God's healing power wasn't the least bit shaken!  I expected a miracle to occur at any moment!  Both Corinne and I had complete peace on seeking medical treatment.  I recall in days gone by that I made rash statements like, "If I ever have cancer I'll NEVER submit to chemotherapy or radiation!"  Yet, we both felt total peace on seeking medical help, which did include both chemo and radiation, yet all the time expecting the healing to manifest!

I have learned a very important lesson about healing issues, that being that NO ONE has all the answers on the subject.  Some preachers seem to know it all, yet in all honesty they don't!  I recall from years ago a famous "faith preacher" who would chastise his congregation if they ever went to a doctor, yet he had to wear a lift in his shoe as one leg was shorter than the other.  Then another "faith preacher" who had to wear a micro hearing aid so that people that he ministered to didn't know that he had hearing issues himself.  I could write chapters on this subject alone, but for now, I'll pass right on!  The fact is, if you ever find a person who tries to tell you that he/she has all the answers on healing, you best run for your life, as that person is a liar!  Therefore, I'm not ashamed to tell you that I don't have all of the answers on the subject!  I'll just keep ministering healing though, no matter what!  What happens after that is totally 100% up to God! 

From the onset of my condition I made it clear that I didn't want to hear all of the formulas, diets, life style changes, etc., etc., that some well meaning folks wanted to see me embrace!  Corinne and I felt certain that we had a clear cut path to walk, and that is what we did!  Still one guy suggested that every message in our church had to be dealing with healing!  I was still told that I needed to confess more of the Word!  It was even suggested that daily I'd walk around our property declaring healing scriptures!  It seems that when it comes to cancer everyone has their pet answer!  In evaluating all of these things we quickly ascertained that most of them came from works.  In other words, how much scripture must I confess daily in order for God to rid the cancer from my mouth?  When do I declare the Word enough for the healing to be manifested?  How many healing messages to I need to hear in our church in order for God's healing to take place?  To Corinne and I the answer to all of that junk was....ZERO!  All of that stuff is works, it's law and it only can lead to condemnation!   Yes, condemnation!  If I don't do enough for healing to take place then that means that there is something wrong with me!  Condemnation is the only thing that can follow that thinking!  Have people been healed by walking around their property confessing healing scriptures?  I am sure they have been!  Yet, is that God's method for everyone?  If you think so, then I've got a bridge to sell you!

I am going to be writing more on this subject in the days to come.  My heart is full on this subject!  But I wish to end today's post by stating that if you are dealing with condemnation in your own journey to health, if you are wondering what more can you do in order for God to heal you, I wish to assure you that you are on the condemnation path to no where!  Instead, please rest in the finished works of Jesus Christ and watch what He will do for you!  Actually see what He has already done for you!

About my condition....Monday I finish the last dose or radiation, over 7 weeks of it!  I also will be done with weekly chemo treatments. The tumor has dramatically been reduced, yet there is still some remaining.  The radiation is to keep on working for a month or so, so I'll be waiting on what the future holds.  In the meantime, I still give all the glory to God for my healing!  I am quick to say that, "Ive been healed by the stripes of Jesus Christ!  I also refuse to live under the veil of condemnation, I'm too good for that as Jesus has made me righteous and holy!

More on this subject later!

Grace and peace!

Why Don't People Attend Church These Days?

As a pastor of a new, small, local church, one of the most frustrating questions I have to ask myself is, why don't people attend church these days?  Often it seems like every known "trick in the book" isn't enough to entice people to make a 10:00 a.m. Sunday commitment.  A year ago, our group bought a large block of very well produced, relevant radio ads on two local secular stations.  The results were dismal!  I think we saw one visitor! 

I believe that the answer to my nagging question may be in 2 or 3 parts.  The first part is the times we are living in.  In May I turned 69.  I can recall as a child growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that Sundays were known as "Church Day."  Certainly not everyone attended church, my own father didn't (latter he did, faithfully!).  However, there was no such thing as going to the store for a loaf of bread on Sunday as the stores, all stores were closed for the day.  Even most gas stations were closed on Sundays.  In those days the local school boards would communicate with the local churches to make sure that school events would not conflict with church events.  My how times have changed!

Today, due to both parents working, sometimes 6 days per week, taking time to attend a Sunday morning worship service just doesn't fit in with the schedule!  Have you ever noted that no matter how bad the economy is, restaurants are always busy every evening?  Why?  Because when Mom and Dad get out of work they are just too worn out to cook a meal, so no matter what it costs, eating out is the norm, sometimes for most nights of the week!

Secondly, many people do not attend church because they have had bad experiences in the church.  I know that here in Citrus County, Florida, I have really made it a point to seek after what I call, "Unchurched Christians."  These are people who have a love for God but some how have been hurt or tainted in bad church experiences. They feel that church attendance is no longer relevant, especially for their busy lives.  I tell these people that, "our church is different!" However, they very often never believe me as they have had others tell them that same line and later found out that they were being invited to more church as usual.

Thirdly, Sunday morning has become a play time.  Due to their busyness people today view Sunday morning as the only time they get to sleep in, play a round of golf, go hunting or fishing, so church attendance just no longer fits their busy schedules!

Maybe you fit into one or more of these descriptions of why people no longer attend church.  Actually you might have other ideas on the subject, and I sure would be interested in your comments.  Please share them below!  However, to me, stating this not as Pastor Larry, but as Larry, a guy who loves God, church attendance if very fulfilling, at least our church is.  For instance, last night, Wednesday night, a very small group of us showed up at 7:00 p.m.  We usually have a short meeting on Wednesdays, and last night was very short, less than an hour.  We didn't do a lot!  We didn't pray down heaven!  We didn't worship for a long time!  Instead one of our guys got up and shared his heart for about 30 minutes.  Then another guy shared his heart for another 10 minutes.  When it was time to leave, I felt like a million dollars!  It's amazing what takes place within me as I meet with my Brothers and Sisters of the faith!  Was it worth attending that service last night?  You got that right!  I came home a better man for my effort!

Well, I have asked a question and maybe shared some opinionated answers to my own question.  You may or may not fit into my answers, and I know what I have written probably will not convince you to visit my church Sunday morning.  However, I do hope I have managed to get you to think a bit about this.  Listen, one more very important thing here, I am not asking you to attend a very religious, law breathing church!  Please stay home from that and worship the Lord in your own way.  But if there is a church ministering the true grace of God near you I might suggest that making a commitment to be there Sunday morning just may benefit you more than sleeping in will.  I have also discovered that the fish do still bite Sunday evenings as well as Sunday mornings!  Just something to think about here!

Grace and peace!