Can I Just Be Myself?

Mike-P1020072-200Dear Friends,

On occasion, I read material or hear messages admonishing me to be careful what I speak, do, listen to, or look at. These are often warnings that I must be aware that I must not ever do anything to displease God. And if I do, immediately repent, with deep sorrow, acknowledging my utter wretchedness and accept that I am an unclean, weak sinner groveling before a stern God. A God who is at that very moment deciding whether to put His arms around me or obliterate me.

Really?

For me, that is not the real world and I think places an unrealistic picture of God before us. Further, it begs the question, “How could I be a friend and have a deep intimate relationship with someone I fear?” I understand that we stand before God by His grace and the cleansing blood of Jesus. He is a God whom we stand in awe of and who is a God of both judgment and mercy.

If I am going to have an intimate relationship with someone, then they must also be my friend. By its very definition intimacy denotes relationship with a close friend or confidant. In my world when I am around a close friend I do not have to pretend. I can be myself, totally open and free. Free to say what I think and do. I do not have to be careful that I might shock or offend him. He knows me and has seen me when I have been strong and when I have been weak, when I do well and when I do not do well. He is one with whom I can be myself and know that he understands and accepts me in all my humanness.

This or course begs the question, “What is a friend? I’ve heard it said that a definition of a true friend is, “Just one with whom you dare to be yourself.” The truth of this hit me once again as I sat quietly early one morning listening to my Father God. Earlier that week I was having a conversation with a friend who shared with me how radically her life had changed as she grasped what it meant to be God’s friend. She said that there was a peace and depth of intimacy in relationship that were not there before.

In the late 1960’s when I was living in San Francisco, CA I was walking down the street one evening when a young man handed me a piece of paper that was titled, “What is a Friend?” At the time I did not read it but merely stuck it in my pocket and continued on to wherever I was going. Later, after I arrived home, I took it out of my pocket and sat down to read it. To me it is the clearest description of a friend that I have ever read. It was written by C. Rayond Beran and reads:

“What is a friend? It is a person with whom you dare to be yourself. Your soul can be naked with him. He does not want you to be better or worse. When you are with him, you feel as a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, so long as it is genuinely you. He understands those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With him you breathe freely. You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meanness’s and absurdities and, in opening them up to him, they are lost, dissolved on the white ocean of his loyalty. He understands. You do not have to be careful. You can abuse him, neglect him, tolerate him. Best of all, you can keep still with him. It makes no matter. He likes you. He is like fire that purges to the bone. He understands. You can weep with him, laugh with him, sin with him, pray with him. He sees, knows and loves you. A friend, just one with whom you dare to be yourself.”

When I read this I thought about my friends. Some of them I do have this level of relationship with. I truly feel free around them to be myself. They do understand those contradictions in my nature, my vanities, envies and vicious sparks. And I know when they are expressed, they understand. On occasion I do abuse them, neglect them, and sometimes just tolerate them. They still like me. We have wept together, laughed together, sinned together, prayed together, and they still love me.

What if we were truly able to see God as a friend? One with whom we accept not only in our head but in our heart that he completely understands all the good and the bad and He still loves us. If you will give me a little artistic license here I believe it was possible that when Judas was betraying Jesus, that Jesus looked him in the eye and said, “Friend, go do what you came for.” (Mt. 26:50) My friend! How can this be, when He knew that Judas was going off to betray Him unto death! I think it was because Jesus understood what was motivating Judas to do what he did. He saw both the strength and weakness. I believe Jesus’ heart was deeply grieved because one of his friends had betrayed him. And yet, He still loved him. If Jesus could love Judas, surely He could love you. And if He loves you and wants an intimate relationship with you then He must also be your friend. I’ll end with this: “What is a friend? Just one with whom you dare to be yourself.”

God bless,

Mike

BOOK AN IN-PERSON MINISTRY SESSION
We have found these ministry sessions with people to be invaluable in healing them from wounds from their past. In some cases after two or three sessions, they experience freedom! If you need deep-level healing prayer or know someone who could benefit from this, here is how to start the process. Send an email to mevans@wholeness.org or call 661-833-2920 to schedule an appointment. On our website, simply follow the instructions under Personal Ministry.

My newest book BEFORE YOU GET HERE Subtitled, Baggage To Drop On Your Way To Heaven, it is a guide to assist in discovering freedom from the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat many Christians today. Chapters include: The Importance of Forgiveness, The Traps of Unforgiveness, A Look in the Mirror, Harmful Words and Harmful Connections, Let Yourself Be Loved By God, The Recovery of Intimacy, and more. Copies are available at Wholeness.org and at Amazon.com.

My thanks to all of you that have been such faithful supporters over the years. If you have not yet made the decision to financially support Wholeness Ministries I would ask that you consider doing so. You can click HERE to visit our “Donate” page where you can send a one-time donation, set up automatic monthly donations, or simply write us a check.

What About Our Differences?

Dear Friends,

In today’s climate, we as Christians need to remember Jesus message that we are to love one another. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “us vs them” verbiage that we are fed on a daily basis. Our natural response would be to turn our backs on one another because of our differences. Instead, why not take those feelings and channel them into spreading the message that we as Christians believe. Jesus said that we are to “Love one another as I have loved you.” I don’t think this was said lightly but rather was demonstrated by his life that ultimately took him to the cross.

It’s costly to love one another but we as Christians can lead by example in showing that we are loving and caring. By doing this we may well bring in those who may not understand the love of the Christian church. How do we show that we are loving and caring? I strongly believe that we can do this most effectively by doing the works that Jesus did. He went out into the marketplace and brought healing to hurting people. We live in a world where many are dealing with sickness that could be healed by a touch from God. That touch from God can come through our hands as we place them on people and simply pray for God to heal them.

When I first began to pray for the sick I was scared and felt as if I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have enough faith, or I wasn’t sure God would hear my prayer, or I didn’t fully understand the authority available to me. But in spite of these personal feelings, God often showed up and people were healed! Many times I was more surprised than the people I was praying for.

One of the reasons I wrote “Learning To Do What Jesus Did” was to bring that message of healing to as many people as possible. Through the simple steps demonstrated in this material we can bring healing to those that need it most. And even though some of those I have prayed for believed differently than I, God crossed those barriers and brought them into healing and wholeness.

I have spent the last few months going back and reading all of the amazing things that I have witnessed through the power of God. Over the years I have shared some of those stories with you, but our job is never done. There is so much more to do. Let’s not allow our differences to divide us but rather let’s embrace them and pour out the love that Jesus has poured into us.

It is more important than ever to spread this message because the world is trying hard to divide us and keep us focused on our differences so that we will turn our backs on each other and get our focus on those things that are not important in bringing in the Kingdom of God.

BOOK AN IN-PERSON MINISTRY SESSION
We have found these ministry sessions with people to be invaluable in healing them from wounds from their past. In some cases after two or three sessions, they experience freedom! If you need deep-level healing prayer or know someone who could benefit from this, here is how to start the process. Send an email to mevans@wholeness.org or call 661-833-2920 to schedule an appointment. On our website, simply follow the instructions under Personal Ministry.

My newest book BEFORE YOU GET HERE Subtitled, Baggage To Drop On Your Way To Heaven, it is a guide to assist in discovering freedom from the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat many Christians today. Chapters include: The Importance of Forgiveness, The Traps of Unforgiveness, A Look in the Mirror, Harmful Words and Harmful Connections, Let Yourself Be Loved By God, The Recovery of Intimacy, and more. Copies are available at Wholeness.org and at Amazon.com.

My thanks to all of you that have been such faithful supporters over the years. If you have not yet made the decision to financially support Wholeness Ministries I would ask that you consider doing so. You can click HERE to visit our “Donate” page where you can send a one-time donation, set up automatic monthly donations, or simply write us a check.

Thank you,

Mike

Show Me The Power!

Mike-P1020072-200Dear Friends,

Power is what people of the world are looking for today. They have problems with no answers. They’re sick. They’re hooked on alcohol and drugs. Their relationships are tearing them apart. Satan has turned their lives so upside down, they don’t know where to go or what to do to get things fixed.

They don’t care if you talk in tongues or dance in the aisles or sit up straight and sing out of a hymnal. But if you have the power to get their bodies healed and their lives straightened out, they’ll come to wherever you are. Not only that, they’ll listen to what you say.

It’s always intrigued me to read the passage in Acts 8:4 when Philip went down to Samaria. “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.”

That’s the kind of credibility God wants to establish. He wants the Church in our day to have the same reputation Jesus had when He was on the earth. He wants people to say about us what they said about those first-generation disciples, “If you go where they are, you can get healed.”

I heard Bill Johnson say, “The Gospel without power is not good news.” If all we have to offer people is religion, a new set of rules to live by or a new set of standards to live up to, without power which can heal their bodies and transform their lives, what good is that? We’ve merely bound them up with another set of “shoulds.” I “should” read my bible, I “should” go to church, I “should” pray more.

Wouldn’t it be much more exciting to do the works that Jesus did? It’s fun to be spiritually on fire, going all-out for God. When you live like that, you never know what’s going to happen. You don’t know where you’ll wind up or who you’ll be ministering to or what amazing things the Spirit of God will be doing next.

Often people will wait around until they receive the gift of healing. If you want to receive the gifts of the Spirit, it won’t happen until you start ministering. As much as you might want to, you can’t wait around until you receive the gift of healing and then go lay hands on the sick. The power manifests as you give out. Once you step out to do the works of Jesus, the Spirit of God will back you up with His power.

I often say to people, “If you’re going to pray for the sick you must be willing to take a risk.” If you’re willing to take a risk and pray for the sick, you’re doing what God sent you to do. And, as people watch what you do, they will listen to what you have to say. Then they will begin to care about what you believe.*

*Some of this teaching was adapted from a daily reading by Gloria Copeland.

BOOK AN IN-PERSON MINISTRY SESSION
We have found these ministry sessions with people to be invaluable in healing them from wounds from their past. In some cases after two or three sessions they experience freedom! If you need deep-level healing prayer or know someone who could benefit from this, here is how to start the process. Send an email to mevans@wholeness.org or call 661-833-2920 to schedule an appointment. On our website, simply follow the instructions under Personal Ministry.

My thanks to all of you that have been such faithful supporters over the years. If you have not yet made the decision to financially support Wholeness Ministries I would ask that you consider doing so. You can click HERE to visit our “Donate” page where you can send a one-time donation, set up automatic monthly donations, or simply write us a check.

Thank you,

Mike

Does Christianity Really Have To Work, Or Can We Just Fake It?

Dear Friends,

When you sit down at the end of the day and think back over your day, how much of it was truly you and how much of it did you fake? You became that person you want people to see, that person you want people to think you are so they will value you, like you and accept you. We are called by God to walk a life of holiness, honesty, transparency and integrity. It is difficult, especially when it’s easy to fake it. No one really knows who you are except God. Your motives, thoughts, secrets, desires and actions are all open to Him. But people see what you want them to see and treat you accordingly.

One of my favorite authors, Francis Frangipane wrote, “Our experience of Christianity must go beyond just being another interpretation of the Bible; it must expand until our faith in Jesus and our love for Him becomes a lightning rod for His Presence.” If our experience of Christianity is not growing and changing, if it does not attract people to God, if it doesn’t work in helping us to deal with life, then we seriously need to ask ourselves is it real or is it fake!

A lightening rod attracts. It says throughout the Word that we will do the works that Jesus did. If we examine what Jesus did we clearly see that He walked in holiness and power. He spoke and people were transformed from death into life; he prayed and people were healed. People were attracted to Him. They saw what he did and they listened to what He said. The Truth that He spoke changed those who heard it. He didn’t have to fake anything; He was what He spoke, the Truth. His faith was extraordinary; His life was anything but normal. He did not have to make excuses for God, pretend He was something He was not, or pump up His faith. He was as real as it gets. He did not fake anything. We however, can easily fake Christianity. Francis Frangipane further wrote, “If we have been indoctrinated to believe that the Kingdom of God, and Christianity itself, does not really have to work, or if the absence of holiness and power fails to trouble us, something is seriously wrong with our concept of truth.”

As I have traveled around this world exposed to thousands of Christians I have been amazed at the number that are not bothered by the lack of power in their walk with God. They never see the sick healed, or God provide in miraculous ways, or lives radically changed and they accept this as normal! I believe that, “if this does not bother you, something is seriously wrong with your understanding of God’s truth.” Our message must work. It must be a message of holiness and power! I heard Bill Johnson say, “The Gospel without power is not Good News! Think about that. What do we have to offer people if it is not power to change, to expect miracles, to provide in miraculous ways? To me, this is the crux of the Good News.

If you are not drawn to holiness, if you do not see power manifest, if your prayers are not answered then it would seem logical to ask why things are not working for you. Perhaps it’s something as simple as accepting this as “normal.” Sadly, many Christians have no higher goal, no greater aspiration, than to become normal. Their desires are limited to measuring up to others. We like familiarity, we like routine, and we don’t like to step out of the boat and walk on the water because it’s scary and we might drown. There is nothing wrong with the familiar but the familiar is often too comfortable and by nature we like comfortable. Staying comfortable with those things that are normal and familiar keep us from experiencing that which is extraordinary.

Many of the extraordinary stories we read in the Gospels required stepping out in faith, expecting something to happen. My experience in this journey has been such that when I pray for healing, I expect change! That is what the Gospel teaches, that is what Jesus demonstrated over and over. Further, that is what my experience has been. Of course there are times when healing doesn’t happen but that does not keep me from continually praying, expecting change.

So, rather than move into a place of faith, expectancy and obedience, a place where we are drawn closer, week by week to knowing and loving Jesus Christ we stop obeying and we start faking. Think about this; “If Christ is within us, we should be living holy, powerful lives. No excuses!” Christianity is not just accepting some doctrine, but is living daily in the reality of Christ’s presence in our homes, schools and jobs. Lets purpose to press in until we “…lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12) When we settle for anything less than the fullness of Christ in our lives our Christianity doesn’t have to work we can just fake it!

God bless,

Mike

Are You Willing?

Mike-P1020072-200Dear Friends,

In his book, The Father’s Blessing, John Arnott writes about setting a high value on God’s anointing. He gives an example of how Elisha kept following Elijah; he was persistent and wouldn’t leave Elijah’s presence until he received a double portion of Elijah’s anointing as described in 2 Kings. When you read about Elijah in First and Second Kings you will understand why Elisha wanted a double portion of Elijah’s anointing.

John Arnott wrote, “When the Holy Spirit imparts His anointing to the body of Christ today, testing will come to see if we are going to value the anointing or not. Are we going to treat Him as true riches and not just as someone we can exploit?”

A large part of my journey has been a desire to move closer to God, and operate in a greater measure of power and authority. In this journey, which started for me in 1984, I have sought out those with an anointing of power and authority in praying for the sick and hearing from God. These are the people I wanted to hang around and learn from, as it was obvious from the fruit of their lives that they were operating in that anointing of power and authority.

But I also had to face those parts of my life that God wanted to change. I began to better understand what He meant when he talked about fire and purging. At one point He brought me up short when a young friend gave me this word from God, “I want there to be Love Motivated Obedience!” This says to me that what you do must be from love, not obedience out of a sense of duty or the law or because of what it will do for you, but obedience truly motivated by love. As we move closer to God, the cost goes higher because the anointing becomes greater. Words like intimacy and holiness began to take on new meaning and you begin to understand what friendship with God means.

Sometimes we seek power or we run to the latest place where something is “happening” to catch it, but we don’t allow God to do His full work in us as our lives don’t change all that much. We look for shortcuts to the power of God and at best become frustrated. One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to sense that God is doing something special in our world today. The young people of this generation are looking for relationship and intimacy with God, not church or religion; and they are willing to sell out for it! Pastors of many denominations are actively seeking reconciliation among the churches of our cities. Cooperation and unity are becoming key words among us as we meet and talk with each other.

What an exciting time to be alive! I believe there are two issues facing us today; first, will you value the anointing, and second, are you willing to pay the price of operating in that anointing? It is special what God wants to do with each of us. My prayer is that you will want this more than anything else.

Here is a prayer that I pray in regards to this anointing that God lets me experience. Perhaps you will find this helpful: Father, where I have looked for shortcuts to operate in your power, or not treasured the anointing you have given, I ask your forgiveness. Help me to know and treasure the privilege of walking with you. Though it may be costly, I will value what you give to me for I know it is only because I am your beloved that you give it to me.

BOOK AN IN-PERSON MINISTRY SESSION
We have found these ministry sessions with people to be invaluable in healing them from wounds from their past. In some cases after two or three sessions, they experience freedom! If you need deep-level healing prayer or know someone who could benefit from this, here is how to start the process. Send an email to mevans@wholeness.org or call 661-833-2920 to schedule an appointment. On our website, simply follow the instructions under Personal Ministry.

Thank you for your continued support of this ministry. Your gifts are much appreciated and are used to help bring in His kingdom and bring glory to God.

God bless,

Mike