Courageous Hope

Any area of your life that does not glisten with hope is under the influence of a lie.

All things new July 28, 2013

He makes all things new

So this weekend I shared a couple funny (but not really funny) stories of the darker, uglier days of our marriage with some friends. Later as I thought about it I released a big sigh of relief and gratitude. Grateful for how God redeems. How he takes us out of the pit and puts our feet on the high places. And today as I worshipped I was reminded again of how He makes all things new.  God doesn’t just take our broken and marred places and fix them up pretty, he does not only repair what is broken but he delights in making things new again. There are still places where our marriage needs to be made new again, where I need to be made new again. But thankfully I live in a kingdom where the King’s business is making all things new.

 

“When he announces the full coming of the kingdom, Jesus says, ‘Look, I am making all things new!’ (Rev. 21:5) He does not say, ‘I am making all new things.’ He means that the things that have been so badly broken will be restored and then some.” – John Eldredge

 

Jesus is not content with merely putting a bandaid or cast on our brokenness. He longs to do the deep work of making us new.

I have a friend whose favorite prayer is “Jesus fix it.”  A prayer I love and pray too. But the prayer burning in my heart today is “Jesus make it new again!”

If you are in a marriage that is broken or a family situation, or a life situation that needs healing….today is the day of salvation, today is the day where Jesus doesn’t only want to fix it…He longs to make it new!

 

Mark Mayer – A man of courageous hope April 10, 2011

One year ago today I got a phone call that felt like someone had just punched me right in the gut.  “Mark died this morning.” She said.  I was stunned. It took a while for it to sink in because this was not the outcome I had expected.

 

Mark had kidney cancer that went crazy and took over his body. He battled for nearly two years with this evil stuff.

 

Mark fought his battle fiercely and with courageous hope.  There really isn’t any other way to have hope other than the courageous kind.  Mark was the epitome of a man with courageous hope.


One of Mark’s lifetime slogans was from the film Braveheart.

“Every man dies, but not every man Really Lives”

 

Mark was a man who truly LIVED. During the last several months of his life, Mark decided that this cancer was from the devil and not from God. (Because cancer is most definitely from the devil). He decided that God wanted to heal him and he began to seek God.  During the course of seeking God as if his life depended on it, Mark re-discovered who his Jesus was and that his Jesus had died not just for his sins but for his disease and that Jesus wanted to heal Mark.  In his search for healing of his body Mark found a healing for his heart and soul, which led him to a deeper love relationship with God that transformed him.  Mark realized that he had a role in partnering with God to see God’s will done and His kingdom come.

 

In what some people thought might have been foolish or unnecessary Mark went in search of where God was moving and he went there to be a part of the move God was doing. It brought him to healing school in Miami, to Bethel Church in Redding California and to International House of Prayer in Kansas City.  At each location Mark had radical encounters with God and healing prayer.  He would bring all he could back to us here. There was a group of us who had been hungry for God, hungry to see God move, seeking to abandon a powerless brand of Christianity for a powerful one. Mark was paving the way for us and we began to contend for his healing with everything we had. We began to seek God’s face with more authenticity and fervor than ever before. Throughout the process we were all being changed.  We believed in hope and faith that Mark would be healed.

 

When the reports came that would discourage, Mark would ask the tough questions and then choose to believe God’s report over man’s. He would say, “My God doesn’t recognize my diagnosis. It is not about great faith, but faith in a great God!” When people thought he was crazy he went for it anyway. One day my husband said to him, “You know as we have been praying for more of God, I realize in the scriptures sometimes more of God meant some kooky stuff!” to which Mark responded, “Well then I choose to be kooky if that is what more of God looks like.”

 

Mark fought for a freedom in the Spirit and a passion in prayer that was bushwhacking down the overgrowth of years of powerless, cynical Christianity. He was a mighty warrior in God’s kingdom and the fruit of his labor has not been completely reaped yet.

 

Mark faced his disease with a courage and determination like I’ve never seen.  He fought until the last minute, not cowering in the darkness but beaming the light of hope through the valley of the shadow of death, saying, “Hope is joyful anticipation of something good!” I’m living with hope today. How about you?”

 

Mark lived a life of great service to others. Even as he was dying of cancer he was still serving the community and the church where he served as a pastor. His last breaths were those filled with hope for those around him.

 

Mark and everyone who was praying for him in faith really believed he would be healed. But he wasn’t.   There is no rhyme or reason. God did not cause Mark’s cancer. Cancer is always from hell.  Sometimes we pray and heaven comes to earth and God heals. Sometimes we pray and it doesn’t.  I don’t know why.  I have decided that if 100% of our prayers were answered then we would be in heaven. So not everyone gets healed while we are here on earth. But we keep praying, we keep praying for His will to be done and His Kingdom to come here on earth just as it is in Heaven. We do not cower at the threats of the evil one who seeks to devour us but we press on with courageous hope and pray for the sick to be healed.

 

Now here is where I might ruffle feathers but I like to do that sometimes.  I believe it was not God’s will for Mark to die. It was a battle we lost. If I believe it was God’s will for him to die when he did then I would have to believe that God gave him cancer and God most certainly did not give him cancer. There is no disease in God’s kingdom, disease is not from God. We have to make sure we understand this. We sometimes misunderstand God’s sovereignty and we forget what world we are living in. God did not take Mark from us. But he received Mark with loving arms.

 

Mark lived with courageous hope and I know his hope was not disappointed one bit.  Ours and especially the hope of his family were greatly disappointed.  But the scriptures promise us if we trust and hope in God then we will not be disappointed or put to shame.  So I believe that through all the disappointment God can turn it for our good and redeem it. I can see how Mark’s life and death has impacted me for God’s kingdom.

 

One of the many courageously hopeful things Mark said in his “Ramblings” he would send out was this:

“Making sense of today takes your faith off the hook, making sense of today gives God a way out.. Making sense today gives Satan the victory…Everyday Satan tries to remind me that my cancer is winning. Every day Satan tries to remind me that my God didn’t really mean what he said. Every day Satan declares that cross wasn’t sufficient for my cancer. But by faith I rebuke his lies and declare God’s truth. If today I give in and begin to make sense of my death, then he wins. If today I begin to bring closure, then I admit defeat. If today I accept those emails of those of you trying to make sense, then I stop having faith.

Therefore, please don’t send me an email trying to make sense of my life “if” I die of cancer. This may sound harsh but I refuse to hear it right now. Instead, I challenge you to stand with me and walk by faith. I challenge you to live in the supernatural with the promises of God in mind. I challenge you to pray Jesus’ prayer and expect his kingdom and his will in heaven to be done today. I challenge you to be a “fool” for Christ!”

 

If you knew Mark please leave a comment below that speaks of the courageous hope you saw in him.

If you want to read more about Mark click here for the website his daughter made in his memory.

 

powerless prayer April 4, 2011

A little over 3 years ago I began a prayer journey. Weary of praying wimpy, powerless prayers, I decided to start praying as if I actually believed what I was praying and furthermore, to pray for things that were big. Miracles really. The kinds of things that only God could do and then to actually believe He would do them.  Either I believe the Bible or I don’t, and if I do, then I need to start praying like I do.

 

Really God was wooing me, because of his great love for me, drawing me out of a powerless faith one prayer at a time.

 

During that time I heard it argued that one should not pray and believe for things that seem impossible because then we might get our hopes up.  And oh what a shame it would be if we got our hopes up?! Isn’t hope the point? It is our hope (eager expectation for a future good) that fuels powerful prayers that become prayers of faith (sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see).  God responds to faith.

 

Along this journey I came to see something that brought light to how to pray powerful prayers.

 

When Jesus tells us how to pray He says to pray:

“…Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

This implies some things that I think many Christians often overlook.

  1. God’s will is not always being done on earth.
  2. We have a role to play in Gods will and kingdom coming from Heaven to earth.

 

In other words, our prayers can move heaven to earth. Our prayers for God’s will to be done can cause His will to be done.

 

God’s will is always being done in heaven. However, everything that happens in this life on earth is not God’s will. We can partner with God to see His Kingdom come and His will be done. Which is what Jesus asked us to do when He told us how to pray. I once heard John Eldredge say something to the effect that Jesus did not say, “pray that the sun will rise”, or “pray that I will always love you”, because those things are a given. Obviously if we have been told by Jesus pray for God’s will to be done and pray for His kingdom to come then those are not givens, those require our prayers.

 

I don’t want to limit God with weak, powerless prayers and living. I want to see Heaven come to earth through our prayers that are full of hope, faith and power.

 

I dare you, stop praying wimpy prayers and start praying powerful prayers.

 

Because there is hope!

 

Pray for the impossible!

 

I know a man who just got healed of lung & pancreatic cancer, the kind that is terminal and he is alive and well and cancer free!!!

 

I know of marriages on the brink of divorce that have been restored!

 

I’ve seen friends in pits of depression and addiction be set free and get their lives back!

 

There is hope for whatever situation surrounds you and those you love.

 

Forsaking wimpy, complaining, begging prayers for powerful, full of faith, hope and confidence in God’s goodness prayers will change you from the inside out. It will also change the world around you and beyond as you see heaven come to earth in response to your prayers.

 

Ok, so you might be asking yourself what are powerful prayers, what does that look and sound like?

 

Powerful prayers are not yelling, running around spitting at something until it lines up with some weird idea you have. Powerful prayers are not long whining sessions where we list our complaints to God. They don’t come from knowing some formula or specific words, but from knowing who we are.

 

We pray powerful prayers when we know who we are in Christ and we understand the authority He has given us. It is when we posture ourselves as a child of the King and when we begin to walk as royalty we pray as royalty.

 

Powerful prayers are praying for things that we know line up with God’s will and the kingdom of heaven and then declaring them to be so and believing they will be.  (This requires a deeper understanding of what God’s will is which would be another post, but I can tell you without question a few things; that it is always God’s will to heal the sick, restore relationships, and provide for His children).

 

It’s just so often we have good hearts and good intentions but we pray wimpy prayers. But you know what is amazing? God in his amazing grace still hears all the prayers whether they are powerful or not. Sometimes whining is all we’ve got and God hears that. Because He loves his children and so He will listen, but there is a shift in the atmosphere when we pray with the authority Jesus gave us.

 

So like I said, I dare you to pray powerful prayers and see how it changes you and the world around you!

 

 

 
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