Posted in Christian, Healing

The Shell Game

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along
the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)

Most of you are probably familiar with a magic trick/grifter con called ‘The Shell Game’. Simply put: A man places three upside-down plastic cups on a table. He puts a small ball under one of the cups, then quickly shuffles them around and around. The ultimate challenge is to guess which of the three cups contains the hidden ball.

Usually it isn’t too hard to guess where the ball is hidden, particularly if the trick is being performed by an amateur who keeps unconsciously glancing at the cup hiding the ball. But if the magician is skilled, it is nearly impossible to tell exactly which cup contains the ball.

I’m bringing this up because I think many of us ‘shuffle the cups’ to hide little balls of shame in our lives.

Sometimes it’s a silly thing, like the new wife who spends the first few months of her marriage scooping grocery bought food into her own dishes because she doesn’t want her husband to know she can’t cook. Sometimes it’s anything but silly, like the man who spends his evenings drinking in secret, but tells his distraught wife that she’s the one with the problem, not him. But, big or small, we all have our ‘shuffled shames’ that we try to hide with philosophical and spiritual sleight of hand. And, big or small, if left hidden they can destroy you.

One of the most freeing things to do is to confess your ‘shuffled shame’ to a trusted Christian friend. However, sometimes such friends aren’t available. Or maybe your shames are too huge and frightening to put into words. Or we’ve hidden those shames so well that even we don’t recall where they are. But God always knows what’s hidden under our ‘shuffled cups’. Our Father sees all, and He loves us in spite of them. He died on the cross to pay for every one of those hidden shames. He rose from the dead to show us we did not have to fear them.

Are you concealing a secret shame that is warping your life? If so, know that you are not alone, and that the Lord still loves you. There is no secret so shameful that Jesus cannot forgive it. Confess to a trusted friend, or to one of the Prayer Ministers at the Glennon House. Please don’t settle for a life lived in fear of someone guessing which plastic cup hides the ball.

Don’t waste another day of your precious life playing ‘The Shell Game’.

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Posted in Christian, Healing

Splashes of Color

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
John 1:5

For most of my adolescent and young adult years, I was plagued by overwhelming depression. I spent many days burrowed in my bed only leaving to eat and use the restroom. I existed in an almost catatonic state during my seasons of depression. I felt smothered as if there was a dark cloud pressing down on me.

Depression painted my life in monochromatic hues. Each day appeared the same, dull and lifeless.

However, in the darkest hours of my debilitating depression splashes of color would emerge in my peripheral vision. These were people who weren’t simply trying to survive each day, but were thriving in the midst of darkness. There was something amazingly different about these people who brought color with them everywhere they went. When I was around them, I wanted to be like them. For that brief instant, I saw the world around me in beautiful colors. But as soon as they left my depression haze settled upon my life again.

In College, one of these “technicolored” people lived two doors down from me. We went to the same school, had several of the same friends, lived in the same complex, but she was completely different from all of us. At parties, we were all drowning are pain and sorrow with the consumption of alcohol and drugs. She was at parties as the Designated Driver to make sure we all got home safely. Her splashes of color gave me hope during some of my darkest hours.

I will never forget the rainbow of colors that accompanied one friend who simply sat quietly with me while I had one panic attack after another. She didn’t have the words to comfort me, but she sat next to me for hours quietly offering me support by simply being there with me. Her love for me chased away the panic for several hours that day.

As I look back at those wonderful “technicolored” people, I realize now that God sent them into my life to bring His color of love to me during some of the darkest hours of my life. When my life was the most dull and lifeless, He reached out to me through those amazing women to show me what His love looked like – vibrant , colorful, alive! I desperately wanted what those women had.

I wanted to thrive, not just survive. And thanks to God’s love and healing, I am!

If you or a loved one feel trapped in depression or anything else that is pressing down on you please come by the Glennon House for prayer with one of our Trained Prayer Ministers. Let God’s love show you what it looks like to be fully alive and free! So that you can be the splash of color in someone else’s darkness as you let God’s love shine through you.

Posted in Christian, Healing

A Handful of Dust

“I am ignored as if I were dead,
     as if I were a broken pot.”
Psalm 31:12 (NLT)

Have you ever been broken? I mean the kind of broken when you’re an old clay pot that’s been tossed into the middle of a six-lane highway? Initially you’d crack on impact, but you could still be pieced back together with a couple of tubes of crazy glue. You can still be useful. You can still be fixed.
But imagine you are lying out there in the middle of the highway for days or weeks or years. Imagine you’ve been run over by countless cars and crunched down by sixteen-wheelers. By that time, you are not even recognizable as a pot anymore. You’ve been ground down to a handful of dust in the middle of the highway, so much so that you can’t even recognize that you were once a pot. You can’t be fixed anymore because there’s nothing left to fix.

THAT kind of broken.

Many people, including good Christians, live in this kind of ‘broken’ every day. Outside they may seem perfectly okay, a kind of ‘high functioning’ handful of dust. They may even be able to glue a few of the larger pieces together and claim that they have been ‘fixed’. But trouble comes when they get run over again. And again. The glue doesn’t hold. The shards fall apart. And the poor little pot is more broken then ever.

But here’s the thing. Jesus didn’t come to fix broken things. Even when He was doing His miracles, He wasn’t taking the existing things and just patching them up. He didn’t go to the crippled man, and hand him crutches. He didn’t go into Lazarus’ tomb carrying a nice burial cloth. He didn’t die on the cross to leave us a really nifty philosophy.

Christ doesn’t fix broken pots. He redeems them. In Revelations 21:5, He didn’t say, “I will fix this world.” He said “Look, I am making everything new!”
But back to the road analogy. Perhaps you think you are too broken to be redeemed. Perhaps you believe that, since you are reduced to a handful of dust, there is no way the Lord can put you back together. If this is what you think, then you might want to take a look at this passage.

Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
Genesis 2:7 (NLT)

God can do an awful lot with a handful of dust.

Posted in Christian, Healing, Life, Scripture

Our Dark Closets

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am
making everything new!”
Revelation 21:5 (NLT)

The Healing Ministry is housed in a lovely old homestead. Built in 1922, it later became a well-known Bed and Breakfast.   In 2001, the house was bought by the Healing Ministry and renamed The Glennon House. The Victorian house radiates love and gentle hospitality. It’s a bright and joyful place covered by lavish amounts of prayer, but like all houses it has dark, locked closets, some of which haven’t been opened in years.

I believe all of us have our dark, locked closets.

My closets were stuffed with secret things. They included, but were not limited to: old costume jewelry idols such as pride and envy. Sparkly, but threadbare dresses of self-righteousness. Fashionable, but painful high-heeled shoes of broken dreams. And the ugliest of all my boxed up items—the rhinestone blinders I wore when I looked for salvation everywhere except Jesus.

There were times when I didn’t have a clue how to clean these closets. I wanted to get rid of the old stuff, but on my own terms (ie. I wanted to get rid of MOST of the items, but not the pretty ones). I couldn’t ask other Christians to help because they would judge me (ie. I didn’t realize they had their own dark closets at home). So instead of cleaning it out, I locked the door and ignored it.

Initially it worked, but after a while the unhealed junk inside started rattling the knob, trying to bust out. I ended up spending most of my energy with my shoulder to the door, straining to keep it shut. It was exhausting!

Finally, with no choices left, I threw myself on Christ’s mercy and opened the door. And here is the really interesting thing: Jesus was already inside. He and the ‘Holy Spirit Cleaning Crew’ had already thrown out most of my junky old sins without me realizing it. When I asked how He got in there, He smiled. Then He reminded me that He’d bought all of me with His sacrifice, even the hurting parts. He’s Lord of my dark closets, too.

Everyone has closet trouble from time to time. Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus and His Holy Spirit Cleaning Crew for help cleaning them out. He bought ALL of you with His blood, not just the bright and joyful parts. To paraphrase His words in Revelation, “I am making EVERYTHING new, even your stinky old closets”. He’s the Lord of your dark closets. Go ahead and open that door. You’ll be glad you did.

Posted in Christian, Healing, Scripture

Changing the Lyrics

Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!
Psalm 96:1 (NLT)

Back in the day (no years, please) I listened to a popular singer who had a catchy tune promoting some pretty bad behavior. Now, listening to this song didn’t want me to engage in this behavior, but it was a fun tune and there seemed no harm in singing it. And why not? All the kids were singing it too.

Anyway, I went to this singer’s concert, which was packed. Inevitably, he announced that he was singing this song. The crowd went wild—as I said, it was a very popular tune. But it’s what he did before he sang the song that I remember.

He said, “This song is about destructive behavior, and some of my friends have died doing it. I can’t sing this song the way it is. I’m changing the lyrics.”

So, in front of a sold-out crowd, this singer changed the lyrics to reflect the true cost of this behavior. It was brutal. I recall feeling shame for my own part in blithely ignoring the despicable message in the original lyrics for the sake of singing a cool song. But most of all, I remember thinking how difficult it must have been to face a crowd of thousands and tell them something different from what they’d paid to hear.

In first century Judah, the lyrics of the prophesied Messiah were well known. He was going to come in earthly power with a mighty army, and eviscerate the Romans who had been so cruel to God’s people. But Jesus changed up the lyrics, bringing the power of the Holy Spirit and the mighty message of sinners redeemed. This new song led Him to Calvary, where this beaten, betrayed dying man whispered lyrics that would eventually eviscerate not only the Romans, but every stronghold of sin. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

So what about you? When you look in the mirror, what lyrics do you hear? Alcoholic? Abandoned? Jobless? Hopeless? Abused person? Person who has been an abuser? If you are hearing this condemnation, remember that Jesus changed those lyrics. He forgave you—YOU—for all eternity. Christ excluded no one.

Maybe, like the brave popular singer, you are facing a huge crowd expecting and wanting you to enable their bad behavior. Maybe you are facing the criticizing words of your single sinful self. Whether it’s an audience of one or one million, it takes courage to change the lyrics. But you are not alone, and you are not forsaken. What you are is loved.

God’s got this. With His help and grace, you have everything you need to change your lyrics. You don’t have to sing a song of despair, death and discouragement. You are loved. You are forgiven. You are not alone. And if you need help with the backup band, call or stop by the Glennon House. It’s never too late to start singing to the LORD!

Posted in Christian, Scripture

Run, Run, Run Away

…But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.
Jonah 1:3

I will never forget the night that my parent’s car got stolen from a friend’s house. I was at a party and it was past my curfew. I walked out to the curb to get in the car. But to my horror, all I saw was an empty section of street where the car had been. I panicked!

My friend Lisa told me to call my parents to have them come pick me up. I was too scared to let them know that somehow I had let the car be stolen. Lisa kept insisting that I call my parents. And I kept getting more and more freaked out about the car being stolen.

So, I did what any crazy scared teenager would do, I ran away to the beach with a group of my friends.

I knew that Lisa was right, I needed to call my parents. However, I wanted to avoid that conflict at all costs. I went with the whole “out of sight, out of mind” idea by running away. Of course, all that really did was postpone the inevitable.

That stolen car incident was a foreshadowing of how I would cope with my emotional conflicts. I spent a good portion of my life engaged in emotional running away. I hated emotions. I did everything I could to avoid emotional conflict or feeling any kind of emotions. Being numb was my preferred state of being in my young adult years.

I spent a lot of money on drugs and alcohol to run away from my emotions. I spent a lot of time going from one relationship to the next to run away from my emotions. And I spent a lot of energy trying to find ways to run away from my emotions. Running away never set me free from my emotions it only made things worse.

The ironic thing about trying to run away from emotions is that you eventually run smack dab into an emotional firestorm. When this happens running away is no longer an option. Unless, you deal with the raging emotions you will be consumed by the very emotions you were trying to avoid.

Avoidance never solves any issue. In fact, it only prolongs the pain of your issue. Jonah’s avoidance forced him into a storm, to be swallowed by a large fish, and to be thrown up. And he still had to do what God asked him to do. Imagine if Jonah had simply gone to Nineveh to preach the message God had asked him to preach. He would have saved himself a lot time and not had to suffer through the consequences of his avoidance.

If you or a loved one are in the midst of emotional running away, I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for an individual prayer appointment. Let our trained Prayer Ministers help you stop running so that you can receive the healing God wants to do in you.

FYI: The “stolen car” was not stolen at all. My dad had taken it back to our house after I missed my curfew. If I had called my parents, I would have known that the car wasn’t stolen. I would have probably been grounded for only one week instead of two months. My running away to avoid telling my parents the car was stolen hadn’t even been necessary!

Posted in Christian, Healing

Spiritual Stroke

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come… 2Cor 5:17

Sixteen years ago, I had a stroke at the age of 32.

The Doctors told me that I was morbidly obese. I had to change the way I lived or I was setting myself up for another stroke. And there was a good chance, if I didn’t change my lifestyle, I would probably die.

For the first time in my life, I truly wanted to live. So, I made the commitment to change the food I ate and to begin to exercise. I had done every fad diet known to man. I had also tried every kind of new exercise program that hit the market. I always failed miserably at sticking to getting healthier. This time with my life on the line, I was determined to stick to this new healthy regimen.

Over the next couple of months, I ate healthy and began to take a Dancerize class at the local YMCA. I was dedicated to this new healthy lifestyle. I was proud of myself for sticking to my plan of becoming healthier. I thought these were the only changes I needed to make to become a new person. But God had a different plan.

One day, my Dancercize teacher walked into class with a handful of postcards. She passed them out to us. The post cards were for a “Healing Bible Study.” She said that we were all taking care of keeping our physical bodies healthy by dancing. Now it was time to get spiritually healthy as well. I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about, but I didn’t have many friends so I thought it would be a good way to meet people.

I discovered Jesus through that Bible Study.

I realized that sometime in my teenage years, I had a spiritual stroke. I chose to indulge in behaviors that pulled me farther and farther away from the Lord. As I turned away from Him, I turned towards a life full of sin and anguish. I became obsessed with instant gratification. If it felt good (making me forget all the pain) then I wanted it. And I wanted so much of it that I became morbidly obese and obsessed with pleasure. I lived to be high on the fake sense of happiness – avoiding the pain of reality at all costs.

I buried God in the recesses of my mind, ignoring His soft voice and His gentle guiding hand. I avoided any contact with God as much as possible. Out of sight – out of mind. That post card handed out by my Dancercize Teacher was God’s invitation to me to come back to Him.

While my physical body was healing and getting healthy, my spiritual life was an unhealthy mess. That Bible Study taught me that I needed to change the way I was living spiritually if I want to do more than survive this life. If I wanted to thrive (as God intended), I needed to become a new person spiritually. I need to eat healthy spiritual food (God’s Word ) and I needed to exercise my spiritual muscles (through fellowship with other Christians, Bible Studies, listening to Sermons, serving others, etc).

Becoming spiritually healthy and physically healthy is how God brought me back to wholeness. Having one without the other didn’t bring complete healing. God knew I needed both, so He showed me how to partner with Him to become whole again. I just had to do my part and God took care of the rest!

If you are looking for that first step to becoming healthier spiritually, I encourage you to join us at our weekly Tuesday Evening Healing Service. It is a great time for spiritual fellowship and getting fed spiritually through the sermons of gifted Teachers/Preachers.

Posted in Christian, Life

Belief

Belief is half of all healing. Your belief is valuable, so you must be careful
where you put it and in whom.
Tree Monster ~ from A Monster Calls

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a movie on iTunes that piqued my interest. It was a movie about a young boy whose mom was battling cancer. Every night he had the same nightmare about her falling into a dark chasm. He always woke up in a cold sweat after her hand slipped out of his.

Then one night, he had a dream of a giant Tree Monster who told the boy that it was going to tell the youngster three tales. And then after the third tale, the Tree Monster wanted the boy to tell it what his nightmare was every night.monster calls

The Tree Monster was the one “person” that the boy felt safe talking to about his anger, fears, and pain in response to his mom’s illness. This creation of his imagination allowed him to express and process everything that he was bottling up inside.

After one of the Tree Monster and young boy’s conversations, the Tree Monster told him, “Belief is half of all healing. Your belief is valuable, so you must be careful where you put it and in whom.”

The truth in those words struck a chord in my heart.

I remember when I first came back to the Lord. I was struggling with multiple physical issues that the Doctor’s could not explain. None of my test results where conclusive, but the symptoms I was having were visibly apparent. The Doctor’s were stumped. And I was extremely frustrated and exhausted.

A well-meaning Christian friend kept quoting me this passage from Scripture, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22) Since I was a new Christian, I unfortunately interpreted my lack of healing being all my fault because I wasn’t believing enough. I became very angry with myself and my inability to believe for my healing. I felt guilty that once again I wasn’t perfect at something.

Thankfully, I was reading the Bible one day and stumbled across these words, “I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24 paraphrased) I began speaking that Scripture every time I started to blame myself for not believing for my healing enough. Whenever guilt would try to sneak in I would say those words out loud.

The more I said them, the more I came to realize that believing that God could/would heal me of what the Doctor’s couldn’t diagnose was just as important (if not more so) than believing for my healing. I had to believe that He was my Healer before I could receive the healing He wanted to give me.

As I continued praying to believe that God could/would heal me, I was referred to a Doctor who decided to run some more obscure tests to see if they would reveal some insight to what was causing my physical symptoms. And praise the Lord, these tests gave us some results that explained what was wrong. The Doctor was then able to offer up several available treatment plans.

What the Tree Monster said in the movie was true, Who we put our belief in is very important. Putting my belief in the Lord as my Healer brought me halfway to my healing. God then did the rest of the healing through the Doctor and the treatment plan.

If you need help to believe that God is your Healer and that He wants to heal you, I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for prayer. One of our trained Prayer Ministers would be honored to pray with you to come to know that God heals today just as He did over two thousand years ago.

Posted in Christian, Healing, Life

Storms

Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”  “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong[c] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Matthew 14:28-30

Storms can be scary and they often demand our attention.

I have many memories of storms from when I was at Summer Camp in Maine. Up there winds would come charging across the lake forcing all of us to seek shelter in the big Dining Hall in the center of the camp. Once inside the walls, we would group together in different areas spread throughout the indoor space.

Some would be huddled close together with hands over their ears jumping at each clap of thunder. Some stood directly in front of the windows watching as the storm crashed its way across the lake onto land. And some completely ignored the storm just chattering away with each other.

I think a variety of reactions also occur when storms of life (e.g. a bad diagnosis from the doctor, the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, etc.) whip up around us.

For most of my life, I felt like I lived in a perpetual storm. It felt like I was constantly being buffeted by stormy winds. There was a lot of chaos and not very much peace at all. My reactions to the storms in my life varied depending on where I was emotionally and mentally when the storm hit.

Sometimes, I was mesmerized by the storm so I simply stood watching it come burdened by a sense of defeat. It was coming and there was nothing I could do about it. Other times I slapped my hands over my ears jumping at every little sound of thunder the storm brought with it. Hoping, that if I hid from the storm that it might ignore me completely and pass on by inflicting no damage. And finally, my last coping method was to completely ignore the existence of the storm. If I denied that there was a storm then I could just remain clueless to the storm’s destruction.

Well, I can tell you from experience. None of those worked!

Because they all have one thing in common, they give the storm the power. The storm remains in control in all of those situations. It wasn’t until I came to the Glennon House for inner healing that I realized that I was acting just like Peter. By looking at the storm instead of at Jesus, I was going to succumb to the storm’s power every time. There was always going to be chaos in my life if the storms were my focal point.

It has been a process of learning that when my focus is on the Lord, the storms can rage all around me, but they don’t affect my peace. It doesn’t matter if I get drenched by the storm or pounded by the waves I will still have peace in the midst of my life storm when my eyes remain on Jesus. I am by far not perfect in weathering storms yet. Like Peter, I still sometimes let my eyes wander to the storm which causes me to start sinking. The good news is that as soon as I cry out the Lord he rescues me from the storm’s clutches.

If you feel as if you are focusing on the storms in your life instead of the Lord. I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for prayer. Let Him help you to receive the peace that He has for you.

Posted in Christian, Life, ministry, Scripture

Perfectly Imperfect

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God.  It’s not the result of anything you’ve done,
so no one can brag about it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (GW)

Recently, I signed up for a portrait drawing class. This is way outside of my comfort zone. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. However, when it comes to drawing I don’t even come close to being perfect. So, for me this is quite the humbling creative experience.

For the very first lesson, the teacher instructed us to draw a portrait with our non-dominant hand. The results were quite humorous – to say the least. My drawing resembled the doodlings of a toddler. Then she instructed us to draw the same portrait with our dominant hand. I would really like to be able to tell you that there was a dramatic difference. Unfortunately, my portrait drawn with my dominant hand might actually have been worse than the one drawn with my non-dominant hand.

I was surprised that the lack of perfection in my artwork didn’t agitate me or make me decide to quit the class. I actually had the opposite reaction. I felt like all the pressure to perform perfectly had been lifted from my shoulders. I was now free to enjoy the class.
To listen. To watch. To learn. To create.

A majority of my life the drive to be perfect has stolen the joy out of many moments. In fact, I often didn’t even attempt to do things if I didn’t think that perfection would be the outcome. But my biggest perfection stumbling block was in my relationship with the Lord.

I bought into the lie that I had to be perfect before I could ask the Lord into my life. For years, I tried to get my act together in all areas. I kept saying, “Once I have _____________ fixed in my life. Then I can seek the Lord.”

That mentality doomed me to the perpetual cycle of always putting off starting a relationship with the Lord. In fact, if I had continued to believe that lie I still wouldn’t know Him at all! Thankfully, the Lord put a person in my path who showed me that God wanted “imperfect me” to seek out a relationship with Him. And technically, since I can never be perfect my waiting for perfection was a futile endeavor.

Once I decided to reach out to God, in the midst of my imperfect life, I discovered joy. The joy that comes from being loved unconditionally whether I am perfect or I am an imperfect mess. Jesus doesn’t need us to be perfect to be in relationship with Him. He simply needs us to humble ourselves by reaching out to Him even when we know we can’t be perfect.

It was a huge eye opener when I discovered that the Lord didn’t love me more when I was perfect and less when I was imperfect. For the first time in my life, I could be vulnerable in a relationship. All I had to do was reach out to the Lord and hold His hand as we walked through the imperfect mess that was my life. And the amazing part was that as I walked with the Lord He began to heal those areas in my life that were holding me back from the His joy.

Now that I don’t approach a relationship with the Lord wearing performance based blinders, I am free to be truly loved by Him. It is much easier to receive His love knowing that He loves me perfectly in my imperfection.