Category Archives: Charismatic

An Honest Account of Sickness and Healing

bacteriaI have been quite ill for the past two months with a bacterial infection. Thankfully, I am now on the mend. Dozens of people faithfully prayed for me during this time, and I so appreciate all the prayers. I thought it might be good to share the journey with you.

We have many sure-word promises of healing in the Bible, and I believe in them with all my heart. I claimed those promises, as did my praying friends. But when I didn’t immediately and miraculously get well, some people were troubled. A couple of well-meaning folks suggested unforgiveness in my heart was the culprit. This was very discouraging! I dutifully brought their concerns before the Lord, but did not feel their assessment was accurate. Others who know me well did not feel it was, either.

When healing doesn’t happen quickly or supernaturally, the tendency is to try to figure it out, and if we can’t, to start laying blame, usually on the sick person. This is very common in Charismatic/Pentecostal circles, and it is detrimental to the person who needs healing. It comes from a pervading “works” mentality, which believes it is all about us doing and speaking every iota perfectly in order for the Bible promises to be attained. We think our performance brings the answers, instead of putting our trust in Jesus our Healer. In essence, we want to come up with a formula to fix ourselves, instead of admitting our weakness and utter dependence upon Him.

A pastor friend felt God revealed to him that I would have to go through the  difficulties, but that it would all end well. He shared the story of Paul’s shipwreck, in Acts 27 and 28. He particularly mentioned that Paul had been bitten by a venomous snake on the island of Melita, and at first people jumped to the conclusion that it was due to Paul having sinned. But that was not the truth. The process was part of God’s plan, He did receive glory, and Paul came out of it all right in the end.

Someone reminded me of Romans 8:28, “… All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This fit well with what our pastor friend had shared. I began to get a glimpse of God’s higher perspective and that somehow God was at work for His glory and my good in ways I couldn’t yet see.

The Lord gave me two particular Scriptures which I have prayed often throughout this ordeal:

Psalm 41:3“The Lord will sustain and strengthen him on his sickbed; in his illness, You will restore him to health.” (AMP)

Psalm 23:1-3“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want [lack]. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul….”

I had moments of fear, and prayed Psalm 56:3, 4: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God I will praise His Word; in God I have put my trust. I will not fear what flesh can do to me.” Many times I said, “Lord, I put myself completely in Your hands. That’s all I can do.” I have not had perfect faith or perfect peace. At times I felt very hopeless. The emotional toll has been great. I relied on my husband’s faith and the faith of friends when I didn’t have much of my own.

The Lord uncovered some attitude flaws during this time — issues I had not realized I had. The whole experience has been extremely humbling. But refining is always a good thing, and I am grateful for it.

In the end, the Lord has brought healing through doctors and a treatment I would have preferred to have avoided. But His hand and timing have been on it all. I hope for better days ahead, although it will be a couple of weeks yet before we’ll be certain that no more treatment is necessary.

If I had had my own way, I would have preferred miraculous healing, without the need for all the doctoring. I don’t yet know how this will ultimately bring God glory. I do believe we should be healed supernaturally far more often than we are. But I know He does things the best way, I am not in control, and I have to trust Him for the outcome.

No matter what trouble He allows us to pass through, the Lord is always with us in the midst of it, and at the right moment, He will bring us out of it. Our challenge is to cling to Him and not let go while we persevere in believing in His goodness and His promises.

I hope that my honest story will assure someone else who has health issues that you are not a failure just because you are struggling. If it has helped, would you please take the time to leave a comment? Thank you!

prophetic intercession

 

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

nature of God

 

 

Before Whom We Stand,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Prophecy and You (Part 2)

prophecyLast time, I shared with you the apostle Paul’s admonition not to despise prophecy, but to discern it (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21). Paul also said to desire to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1, 39). Today, we’ll look at some ways we can fulfill our call to prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:3 mentions three reasons prophecy is important: it builds people up, it encourages or exhorts them (spurs them on), and it brings comfort.

It convicts its hearers of their need to change. 1 Corinthians 14:24 says, “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all” (ESV). This is especially true if the prophecy points to Jesus and His holiness. While  this verse addresses prophecy’s effect on those who don’t yet know the Lord, God uses it to convict believers as well. Consider chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, where Jesus spoke prophetically through John to correct sin areas in local churches.

Some prophecy foretells future events, so that God’s people know how to respond and be ready. Jesus prophesied many futuristic things about His death, resurrection, and the last days before His return to earth. Agabus foretold a coming famine, so the Church could take necessary steps to prepare (Acts 11:28). Amos 3:7 tells us, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, without  [first] revealing His secret to His servants the prophets.”

God also uses the prophetic word to tear down anything opposed to His plans and to plant and build His purposes in individuals’ lives and nations. “See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10).

While some of these aspects of the prophetic happen largely through those who hold the ministry function of a prophet, we can all be used at times in each of them, if we allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us. Remember, prophecy is simply uttering aloud what God has spoken to us or shown us. And keep in mind that prophesying is not confined to congregational settings. It can be part of our daily life, as we go about our Father’s business.

Encouragement

This is one of the easiest ways we can prophesy. It can either be on a personal, one-on-one basis or directed toward a group of believers. It’s not prophecy if you are only attempting to help people feel good by sharing your own ideas, but when the Spirit of the Lord is impressing a thought upon you, it will carry weight and bear fruit in others’ lives.

A word from the Lord doesn’t have to feel like fireworks going off inside. It is more likely to manifest as a gentle, persistent sense of what God has for someone. Even if you aren’t entirely sure, take the step of faith to share what you are receiving. You might be surprised at how it blesses someone, once you have the courage to speak it.

Sometimes we don’t realize in a moment of encouraging others that the phraseology we are using is a prophetic word for them — until they tell us they heard the same thing from God or from another person.

Prophetic encouragement isn’t always warm and fuzzy. Some words are meant to stir people up or spur them on into God’s purposes for them. God isn’t into just making His people feel good; He wants us to go deeper with Him, too. Don’t be afraid to share these exhortational words. Just do it in the spirit of love, not criticalness.

Prayer

Maybe you’re praying with someone, and words pop out of your mouth you weren’t anticipating saying. You are in the flow of the Holy Spirit, speaking forth His understanding of the situation in the moment. This is actually a form of prophecy, and it can be powerful.

Or, perhaps God puts a burden on your heart for a region, and you begin to pray things by the Spirit that you couldn’t know on your own. Years ago, I found myself suddenly praying our Pledge of Allegiance, but it was for North and South Korea to be united as “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Later, I found out many Korean Christians were also praying for the reuniting of the two nations. Since then, I’ve heard several prophets say that this is what God will do. But my first revelation of God’s heart on the matter came through prayer proceeding from my own mouth — and it surprised me at the time. Praying the thoughts of God, as He gives them to you, is a key way to prophesy.

Counsel

Maybe as someone shares his or her problems with you, you know exactly what to say to bring help  — but you realize the thought did not proceed from your own intellect. That is the word of wisdom, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8, and it is closely allied with prophecy.

Testifying to God’s goodness

When we proclaim God’s goodness, testifying of what He has done for us, sometimes prophecy gets intermingled with that. How? For one thing, God will use your testimony to personally speak to others, to encourage, build up, exhort, convict, or comfort them.

You may also find that as you testify, your words begin to  shift from just telling your story into applying the truths you have learned to the lives of those in similar circumstances. You feel the Lord’s urging to say, “God has miracles for you, too. Trust Him, and watch Him work out your circumstances beyond what you could have imagined.” It’s a subtle form of prophecy. The more you proclaim the goodness of the Lord, the more you open yourself up to prophesying, because “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).

Prophetic writing

The Internet is a wide-open window for anyone who wishes to be used by God in this way. When I write books and articles, I seek the Lord for what He wants me to say. I rarely do it any other way. Do you have a blog? Use it to share what God is speaking to you. You don’t have to be a blogger, though. How about using social media to encourage others with what He is saying to you? How much better is that than the opinionated wrangling so many get caught up in!

Does God bring a particular Bible verse to mind for someone? Communicate that. It may be just what the person needs to hear. You are giving them the word of the Lord for their situation.

Wherever you go, be open to the Lord’s promptings to share insights, personal words, ideas, encouragements, and Bible verses God has spoken to you. As you are faithful to do that, God will increase what you have for others. You will end up prophesying blessing to those around you.

personal prophecy

 

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(audio teaching)

 

 

Prophecy and You (Part 1)

prophetic visionRecently, I was talking with a young friend about the gift of prophecy. Although she is Spirit-filled, she was cynical about it, due to having been burned by a number of personal words which were not genuine. Still another thing bothering her was how many times well-known prophets have given word after word which did not come to pass, were hype-filled, or seemed trivial or ambiguous.

Folks, we do have some deep problems in the prophetic wing of the Church — including inaccuracy with no followup repentance, as well as gross sin taking place behind the scenes, some of which is finally being exposed. These things should shock us and cause us to be cautious.

However, it’s important not to reject the gift of prophecy just because some people are making a mess of it. We cannot let a few bad apples — or even a barrel full of them — steal from us this precious gift from the Holy Spirit. Indeed, God knew ahead of time that controversies would arise around prophecy. That’s why He gave us this advice in His Word:

“Do not despise prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21).

Those few words give us the needed balance: don’t reject, but do discern. Discernment means we measure what is said against the Bible, our plumb line. It means we pay attention to whether the prophetic word “witnesses” to our spirit, too. I believe we must also discern the people who are prophesying. Are there repeated rumors that they are not living holy lives? Why would we want to sit under their ministry, then? Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said,

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits you shall know them.Matthew 7:15-20.

Desire to Prophesy

Not only are we to cherish prophecy when we hear it from others, but we are to desire to prophesy ourselves. The apostle Paul opened and closed 1 Corinthians 14 with this message: “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy” (v. 1), and “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy…” (v. 39).

Each of us can and should prophesy at times — because, according to 1 Corinthians 14:3, “He who prophesies speaks to men for their edification (building up), exhortation (encouragement), and comfort.” It is an avenue through which we bless others.

You might be thinking, “But I’m not a prophet. I can’t prophesy.” Let’s demystify what prophecy is, because it’s not as difficult as we sometimes make it. Each of us can hear God speak to us personally, whether through impressions, words, or visual images (visions) God  plants in our spirit. Prophecy is simply speaking forth to others what God has said to us or shown us. You can do that, because as a child of God, you hear His voice. (If you have doubts about whether you can hear Him, see what Jesus had to say about this in John 8:47 and John 10:3-5, 8, 27.) Although not everyone is a prophet, we can all prophesy, and we should — because we will serve others when we do.

There’s a variety of ways we can prophesy, too. It’s not limited to uttering a message from God in a church service. That might be intimidating for you, but it’s not the only avenue open to you.

In my next post, we’ll look at simple ways you can prophesy. You might be surprised to find you are already doing it, and you didn’t even know it.

personal prophecy

 

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

prophetic teaching

 

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(audio teaching)

 

 

Small Beginnings, Influencers, and Cupbearers

water glassI know I have written on this topic before, but it’s on my heart once again.

In the last thirty years or so, I have seen a mindset within the charismatic/prophetic church which has brought a great deal of discontentment and disillusion to some believers. It’s the emphasis on being somebody special — special in the sense of being more than everybody else. We’ve been encouraged to achieve “greatness.” Many of us have been given personal prophecies that we would be important “influencers;” “world-changers;” great evangelists, prophets, worship leaders, or whatever. In short, we’ve been molded into thinking that if we don’t have some kind of celebrity status, there is something wrong with us.

We’ve been told, “Don’t despise the day of small beginnings” — with the implication that we might start small, but it had better get bigger! We’re encouraged to serve first by cleaning toilets, because eventually our faithfulness will be noticed, and we will graduate to better things (where cleaning toilets is no longer part of our job description). I suppose it’s the same “dream big” mentality that pervades all of American society, where every little girl or boy theoretically has the potential of someday becoming President. We’ve just repackaged it a bit in Christianity.

Along the way, though, some have become sadly disappointed when these illusions of greatness did not materialize. They’ve given up, wondering what went wrong or where they failed. Still others continue to chase after that pot of gold (personal importance) at the end of the rainbow, while it always remains out of reach.

I suspect God never intended for us to have expectations of being a “somebody.” We already are somebodies in His eyes, because we are His sons and daughters. We are already “a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9) of priceless value, just because we are His. I don’t think He ever wanted us to aim at graduating from scrubbing toilets into something “better.” Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, didn’t He? He said that in the Resurrection, He would seat us at the table and serve us (Luke 12:37). How amazing! Not even Jesus has graduated from serving. It is His eternal nature, and it must become ours.

A few days ago, I spent some time praying part of Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might….” I promised the Lord that I would do whatever He brings to my hand, no matter how insignificant it might seem. For me right now, that means devoting myself to serving my elderly mother, making sure she feels loved and well taken care of. It means spending time listening to people, praying with them, answering their questions about spiritual things when I am able, and helping them in little ways here and there which are unlikely to be noticed on a grand scale. It means cherishing my husband and children. It also means that right now I can’t pursue some things I would have preferred to do if I had the time.

I see a lot of other Christians in the same position, some serving with greater dedication than I could ever hope to. Selfless giving in small ways is precious in the Lord’s sight, if we do it humbly and joyfully for Him. These acts of kindness, every bit as much as miracles, signs, and wonders, are the works and greater works which Jesus said we would do, in John 14:12. Don’t think so? Take another look at 1 Corinthians 13, with its message about noisy gongs and clanging symbols versus loving when the rubber meets the road.

Years ago, I taught a Bible verse to our small children when I put them to bed at night: “And whoever will give to one of these little ones a cup of cold water to drink, only in the name of a disciple, most assuredly I say to you, he shall in no wise lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42). We recited this verse together over that last glass of water they requested before going to sleep at night. It’s a fun memory.

Whether you ever become well known or not, do with all your might whatever the Lord gives you, moment by moment. Don’t miss out on the many opportunities to serve Him and the people around you while you wait for some big destiny thing. And remember, giving that cup of cold water, only in the name of a disciple, will be rewarded by the King, too.

________________________________

peace of mind

 

 

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 8) — Conclusion

balanced churchWe started this series by looking at what “church” (ekklesia) means — a called-out assembly. We are called out of the darkness of this world into God’s family and kingdom, not as individuals only, but as a united body of believers, meant to live and carry out our purpose together.

I also gave you a core job description: The Church is the expression of Jesus Christ upon the earth.

Throughout the series, I emphasized that healthy church life means we function as the family of God. When we forget that we are family, some of the other components of who we are — an army, discipleship center, or even a house of prayer — can get out of whack. But if we stay in the context of family, the many purposes God has for His Church work beautifully together. When we overemphasize one aspect of the Church to the exclusion of others, we become like a wheel out of round, or one missing some spokes, but properly balancing who we are and what we are supposed to do causes us to thrive.

There is one more element of the Church that I would like to mention. Really, I’ve saved the best for last:

We are Christ’s bride.

It is definitely a “now, but not yet” part of who we are. We are betrothed to our Bridegroom Jesus, but the wedding celebration will not take place until He returns for us. While we wait for Him, we are in a two-fold preparation time. We are already spotless in the sense that we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, blameless and pure through His atonement for us at the cross. But Jesus is also bringing us through a wedding preparation process, “that He might sanctify and cleanse [His bride] with the washing of water by His Word, so that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26, 27).

We have our role to play as well. Just as an earthly bride goes through much preparation to look her most beautiful on her wedding day, we are to give great attention to readying ourselves for Jesus. Revelation 19:7 says of the marriage supper in heaven, “for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

In this present hour, the Lord is doing His part to cleanse His Church, even sometimes through the painful, public exposure of sin. We must do ours as well, in setting aside every encumbrance, every distraction, which would keep us from looking eagerly for our Bridegroom to come for us. We must get our attention off the temporary pursuits and cares of earth, and firmly fix our gaze on Jesus. He is coming. Let us be eagerly anticipating Him.

Summing things up:

The expression of love, mercy, and compassion should always be prominent in the Church. We carry out the practical functions to which we are called as Christ’s body on earth, but forever in the context of these three attributes. This is why the Spirit led the apostle Paul to insert “the love chapter” (1 Corinthians 13) between the the gifts and church order chapters (1 Corinthians 12 and 14).

We must also remember that our Sunday morning services are only a slice of what it means to be the Church. If that is all we ever experience, we are missing out on a great deal. The early Church not only met together in large gatherings; they met “house to house” informally, eating and fellowshipping with one another (Acts 2:46), receiving teaching (Acts 20:20), and praying together (Acts 12:12) too. We can do the same in our day. They also lived out the life of Christ in the world around them, including showing forth the power of God through miracles, signs, and wonders, which are supposed to “follow those who believe” (Mark 16:17). “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power” (1 Corinthians 4:20).

I hope you have enjoyed this series and that it has provoked some new ideas for you. I would love hearing any additional thoughts you have!

What Should the Church Look Like? (Part 1)
Part 2 — We Are Family
Part 3 — We Are One Body
Part 4 — We Are an Army
Part 5 — We Are a House of Prayer and Worship
Part 6 — We Are a Healing Center
Part 7 — Other Church Attributes

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nature of God

 

 

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Christian character

 

River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

intercession, prayer

 

 

The Intercessor Manual,
by Lee Ann Rubsam