Through my many illnesses, I have learned over and over again that It’s not circumstances that determine my response. I learned that it’s not feeling that make up my mind. I say yes to God, even when he doesn’t say yes to me. – p,19
What would you say to someone suffering chronic illness – to encourage them NOT to give way to depression and despair?
When I say that it’s not feelings that make up my mind, it is because feelings lie to us. So when I sense that God isn’t saying yes to me, my feelings will often take control. So I need to be in control of my feelings. I wasn’t always able to do this. It came with practice.
One of the principles that I learned when I first received Jesus into my life was to rejoice in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I practiced this. Whenever anything went wrong I would immediately start “Praising the Lord!” Consequently this turned into a lifestyle.
But, we just can’t tell someone who has chronic illness that if they would just pray more, praise the Lord, or have more faith, or any of the platitudes we often tell people who are in physical and emotional pain, but expressing genuine comfort, building a trusting relationship by listening and praying for the individual will open the door for us to speak into their life. So often we think we need to tell rather than listen. Jesus was a great listener. What I would tell a person is this; I will listen to you, and love you with unconditional love. And I will pray for and with you. Let us be open to the Holy Spirit and what He wants to do in your life.
Forgiveness is certainly one of those ways in which saying yes to God makes little sense and crushes our flesh. – p. 42
It is so much easier to cling to unforgiveness than to forgive someone who has hurt us deeply. Yet this one thing alone makes saying, “yes” to God impossible. How were you able to forgive those who had hurt you so deeply?
I once went to a workshop for women who had been abused. The room was filled with victims. One lady had actually killed her husband and spent time in jail.
The leader of the workshop told everyone that they should never forgive for if they do they will let the perpetrator back into their lives. The room was full of bitter women. When I looked at the sadness in the eyes of these women, I realized how important it was to forgive. I realized Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient for all of my pain.
I once heard it said, “That unforgiveness is like someone drinking poison thinking the other person is going to die.” Yet, we struggle with forgiveness because we want to hold on thinking if we release those who hurt us he is getting away with what they did. We don’t forgive based on how we feel but we forgive because God commanded us to do so. And, this forgiveness is a decision not based on how we feel, it is a process. I forgave those who hurt me deeply but it took several years of constantly making a strong effort, I became relentless and it worked. I was set free!
If we remain in bondage to the opinions of other people, we will be limited in our power to say yes to God. – p. 67
Again, this is a form of bondage that grips us from an early age! How would you encourage young folks not to begin the practice of listening to the opinion of others? Especially when you KNOW what God has asked you to do and you want to walk in obedience to HIM?
If we could teach young people who they are in Christ, that they are blessed, have an inheritance, adopted into the Kingdom, then I think listening to God would become more important than listening to the opinions of others.
Listening to the opinions of others in my opinion is really having fear of man. This is a tough concept for young people but it is true. They are subject to so much peer pressure. When my children were growing up, I tried to build confidence in each one. Young people are so vulnerable and need affirmation but the right kind of affirmation. I will tell them to trust their ability to hear God and not worry about making a mistake. God is more interested in their obedience than how successful they are.
And continually dredging it up for “healing” is just like ripping off a fresh scab. You are a new creation in Christ. As a new creation, you don’t have any scabs. You don’t have any wounds. You were made brand new by His extraordinary love and sacrifice. – p 69
This seems to be the toxic combination that forms when unforgiveness meets the opinions of others! How do you lead someone to embrace their identity in Christ? Forgiven and made new? Why is this so hard?
It is hard because we make it hard. We like our self-pity, it gives us attention. When we seek attention from the brokenness within, it is extremely toxic. If we wallow in our self-pity, we allow the enemy to fill our minds with negativity about the person who hurt us and ourselves. We speak 2500 words to ourselves per minute. If this is negative talk, then imagine the outcome.
One of the biggest mistakes I made was convening with others who were hurt and we had a field day just being critical of all those who hurt us. Bitterness grew and it caused me a lot of physical pain as well as spiritual pain.
Jesus said to pick up our cross and follow Him. He was our example when He embraced the cross; we often have to embrace our crosses in life in order to receive healing. My questions to those who came for pastoral counseling “Are you willing to face the pain in order to get well?” Most people answer “Of Course.” But I found they don’t always follow through.
Repentance always brings healing, when someone we should forgive, repent of our own bitter reactions, and bless the person who hurt us hurts us. Finally we need to forgive ourselves. This is something we often over look.
Know you are in Christ. Own who you are in Christ. Be who He believes you are – a beautiful, spectacular, radiant creation with one of a kind gifts. Be who you are in Him. A powerful, faith-filled, determined giver of life to everyone you meet. As you fully discover your true identity in Christ, the journey of saying yes to God truly begins. – p70
Renewing your mind starts by humbling yourself, trusting God, and obeying Him. P. 73
Renewing your mind seems as difficult for believers that have been in faith for years as it is for brand new believers! Why?
I believe this is because we don’t believe Jesus when he says who He is. He is our redeemer, savior, His dying on the cross brought about our salvation. That word for salvation is “sozo.” You are healed and being healed. Having trust, belief, equals FAITH. I spell faith “risk. Taking risk is fearful, we are not sure of the results. But risk that equals faith that is the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). If we believed what the word says, and took God at His word I think renewing our minds would be easier.
We think it is difficult, and convince ourselves that it is difficult. But that is a lie. If we truly sought after transforming our minds, wouldn’t the Holy Spirit give us what we need?
There is everything we need in Scripture for the transformation of our mind. For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
This verse speaks for itself.
Our healing doesn’t come from regurgitating the broken trust and the assaults we’ve suffered at the hands of others, but from meditation on the truth and affirmation we find in His word and the blesses unspeakable peace we feel in his presence. P 82
When we constantly rehearse and rehash our pains, we won’t move past them. We won’t experience God’s healing and we are unable to become agents of His live in our communities. P. 83
When I read these two quotes, my heart leapt within me!! “YES!” This is so incredibly true!! Can you tell us how you arrived at this truth in your own life? I have a feeling it has all to do with this statement: Forgive the injury. Release the offence. Bless the offender. P.84
When I was very ill, I received a lot of attention. People were constantly asking how I felt. They were always telling me that I had such courage; they admired me because I wouldn’t give up. I didn’t realize at the time, I really liked hearing what they were saying. After I had a liver transplant I was feeling wonderful. I actually looked 10 years younger. But, people were not asking me how I felt. I missed the attention, and I had to learn how to live as a healthy person.
When we go through a healing process, and walk through forgiveness we need to learn how to walk in freedom. Accept the healing and move on.
Whatever we speak out will become true. We are to pray for our enemies because God knows that’s the only way change will come. Be a person that forgives and speaks blessings into painful situations. P.84
Can you elaborate on speaking the truth of God’s Word over a situation? How has this changed your own life?
Each morning I speak out loud (most of the time) that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, a new creation in Christ and no weapon formed against me will prosper. I say it until I believe it.
People have a really difficult time with this, but it is really accepting who God says I am and what He will do. I often tell people when I go out to speak that they should stand in front of the mirror naked and say, “I praise you God because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” This always brings up a strong reaction from people. It is about accepting self.
When we reach the point where we desire only to be in the place He desires us to be, I believe we are completely able to say yes to God. P.113
Realistically, how long does it take to arrive at this point with God? Is this different for every believer? What makes the difference?
Realistically, I have desired this for a many years, and I am still working on it. Desiring something doesn’t necessarily mean we have accomplished it. Everyone is at a different place in his or her relationship to God. Actually we are always going to have new challenges to do new work that will require us to say yes.
So we will always have an opportunity to say Yes to God. I have a saying that I put in my book Saying Yes To God discipline turns to desire, desire turns to delight. I find that discipline, saying yes, turns to desire, I want to do it, then it becomes delight.
I often think we try so hard in the natural to do something, but God wants our desire to come from the spiritual realm, the Holy Spirit. If we surrender to the Holy Spirit’s we will find this much easier than we think.
I find that when I am grateful instead of fearful, I see the world as Jesus does.
Fear has altered human perspective since the Garden of Eden! How do we combat fear effectively?
We need to stand up to our fears. Look them right in the face. Believe what the Scriptures say and live a lifestyle based on Ephesians 6:10-18. This isn’t a prayer we say by rote but something we live.
…on the other side of my “yes God” is someone else’s “please God.” P 121
This was a POWERFUL statement to me!! To know that someone is praying for me to find direction and the strength to walk in obedience is amazing! How did you see this displayed in your own life?
Many times I found that what I was doing was the result of other’s praying. Someone needed to do the job, and I was available to say yes.
The story I told in the book regarding the pastor’s prayers has resulted in my teaching at that church every week. I am having a wonderful time, teaching and enjoying the fellowship. My husband and I have decided to make this our home church. And, the beauty of my relationship with the leadership is awesome. They are supportive of my calling, and bless my comings and goings. It is a wonderful Spirit Filled Church that allows me to have a refuge to be who I am.
What closing words of encouragement would you like to leave with readers?
I read all of the questions before beginning to answer. None of them can be answered in just a few sentences. Each question is unique to each individual. And each of us learns how to walk in relationship with God in a different way. I attempted to answer the questions in a way that each individual felt their unique calling from God. I hope the reader will understand that God’s love for them will lead them to a place of healing, and it might just be different from individual to individual. And, they have a purpose “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. When we say “Yes” to God, we are saying yes to fulfilling our divine purpose.