Finding Answers

Encouragement for Parents with Chronically Ill Children

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EncourageWordleCaring for a chronically ill child requires dealing with the school system. I must say that, after six years of Sophia being on homebound, it is still very tricky to handle the school without unleashing a merciless verbal assault on someone; this would come easily to my natural man. It isn’t just the home office but each and every teacher as they are all different people with varying personalities and modes of operation. This year, Sophia’s freshman year, has been the worst dealing with the homebound committee. I have battled against a homebound assigned nurse giving false information leading to the rejection of homebound tutoring as well as false information making things appear one way when they were altogether another. I have had to battle all school year just to attain the proper accommodations for Sophia so as to be able to accomplish her work while in and out of school.

As recently as last week, I had to make a call to both the superintendent as well as a friend on the school board. The homebound board was refusing to grant Sophia homebound hours when she was out three straight weeks. They cited that, because her days were previously excused, they would not accept the newly submitted backdated homebound form so as to get the necessary tutoring to cover those three weeks. When I finally received a call from the head of homebound after she must have received a call from a superior, her response was, “Oh, so all you need are the homebound services? We thought you were requesting her days to be doctor’s excused and they already were.” This was a lie as she knew exactly what I was requesting. Honestly, I cannot for the life of me understand why the school system uses the motto “no child left behind” when they’ve proven time and again they couldn’t care less about my child or her education. There are times over the last 6 years where I have lost my temper in utter frustration listening to them flim-flam their way through the litany of excuses as to why they cannot provide this or that. They love looking good on the surface but, underneath, in my opinion, it’s all about reputation and money.

I say this to say that walking with God and having to confront the school system is challenging at best. As if it isn’t enough having to wrangle with the doctors and their ever changing assessments of what’s going on any given occasion and having to care for my sick child knowing that, in the moment, I can’t do anything to ease her suffering, insult is added to injury having to deal with the school threats of calling truancy if I don’t immediately comply to their system.

I find myself having to regularly and specifically apply God’s Word to my life, my attitude and my overall posture when dealing with the school system at large. I perpetually call myself to accountability so as to not lose my tempter with someone merely delivering a message. I must remind myself they are people too; that the individuals with whom I am dealing are just that – individuals – they are not the system itself. I long to be perfect as Christ is perfect, but there are moments when I lose sight of Holy Spirit, if even for a moment, and have to force myself into obedience to Christ. I surrender each instance to God so I do not become what I hate – a fleshly, worldly, loudmouth mom going off on a tangent. As tempting as it is and as easily as that would come to my natural man, I must resist.

These are some of the lessons within the lessons drawing me closer unto the bosom of God. Choosing to resist temptation at all costs is vital. Though I fail from time to time, God is faithful. I remind myself all things DO work together for good for those who love God and I am in love with God.

James 1:13-16: When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear bothers and sisters.

 

Encouragement for Parents with Chronically Ill Children

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“Why me, Lord?” or rather “Why my child?” The question of “why” has to be the most commonly asked question of anyone throughout the ages. “Surely God who is loving has forgotten us. Doesn’t He love us? Is He punishing us? Is He lacking in power, goodness or greatness? Surely a good God would not allow this. If He were great, we wouldn’t suffer so.” To be clear, God is equally loving, good and great. He is all powerful and able to heal in any capacity needed; in fact, His healing is fully intact and is complete in the spirit-realm. The problem lies not in who God is, but in how we perceive Him and our circumstances.

We read in the first few lines of the 73rd Psalm of Asaph, “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” He continues citing how the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer. Here we witness the candor of a man who was in love with God. He begins with stating the truth about God, that He loves His people, then goes into the confession of his envy of the wicked who prosper. Envy, as shown in numerous verses of God’s Word, is sin. Not only is it sin, but it is mercilessly destructive.

I deeply appreciate Asaph’s confession of his envy of those who flourish yet are wicked. When one has set their cap to serving the Lord yet suffers greatly, it is all too easy to become prideful assuming God should be more mindful of the righteous; this is pride. In our prideful spirit, we believe God has wronged us, forgotten us or altogether forsaken us. This simply is not true. There are a multitude of Scriptures preparing God’s people in how to stand in the evil day, how we have overcome the world yet beset by a myriad of sufferings.

We’re back to the problem: is it God or is it man’s prideful thinking? Without question, it is the latter. When we lay down our fleshly mindset (conscious or unconscious) of “I deserve better because I love the Lord,” already we can deduce we do not love God as much as we think. In fact, we think too highly of ourselves and love ourselves in an unhealthy fashion. It isn’t until we get to know our Sovereign King that we can take hold of a major paradigm shift. The bottom line is, we are all unworthy of God’s grace, yet He extends it regardless. All of humankind deserves hell, yet, in His supreme compassion, He allows us to partake in His worth, His Kingdom, His grace and kindness.

When our children suffer, it is far worse than suffering in our own bodies. Nevertheless, God is sovereign; He is just in all His ways. I believe 100% in supernatural healing, binding away spirits and releasing Holy Spirit in their place, anointing with oil, laying on hands from elders, repenting of known sin and going to sin no more, and breaking generational or other curses. When, however, one who walks with the Lord has done all this through faith and they don’t immediately experience a shift in the situation, we must stand in faith and trust that the Lord is all He proclaimed. His promises remain steadfast and sure.

II Corinthians 1:3-4 states, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Instead of asking, “Why”, we need to begin to humble ourselves and turn the “why” into praise. Let us come to the Father on behalf of our children so as to praise God in faith that He is who He says He is as well as stand in the faith we proclaim. Additionally, stop thinking only of your situation and begin to ask, “Lord, in all this suffering, how may I aid and comfort another in theirs.”

Asaph closed his psalm with the words, “When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in Heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on Earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.”

As parents, let us release the bitterness and embrace the God we say we love. Though our feet nearly slipped, allow God to rescue so that our feet are once again planted on solid ground. It isn’t enough to entrust our lives to the Lord, but we must equally, or more so, trust Him with our children.

I Peter 5:10: And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.

 

 

When All My Strength Has Failed

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Chapter 6: Becoming Base and Foolish, part I

“but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. (I Corinthians 1:27-29).”

Most view weakness as foolishness, as if it’s the worst thing that can happen to someone. Adversely, it’s when we weaken ourselves completely before the Father we are able to go beyond human ability. God purposes to nullify the things that are (anything of human ability) so that we have nothing left from which to boast or pull strength.

God has graciously granted mankind His image which includes a great many assets, gifts, attributes, talents, brains, brawn, and so on. His directive for such assets is so we may glorify the King and flourish in the Earth, subduing it as was intended in the Garden of Eden. We are to bring Heaven down to Earth. Unfortunately, mankind, in all its pride, has become more dependent upon such gifts from God in lieu of God. Instead of leaning upon Christ, we use them when we should submit them allowing God to utilize them for the good of all mankind. For instance, if you have a gift of prophecy, you may speak something out of your great intellect instead of waiting upon the Spirit to lead. This is using human power instead of Holy Spirit revelation. Furthermore, if you have a talent of painting, you may for the sake of a huge paycheck paint something not approved of God because you can. You did it with the mindset, “God must be blessing me” when it had nothing to do with God at all.

People who do subject everything to God are considered foolish, childish, silly, and worse. People say, “You can accomplish____________ in your own strength. Why do you call upon God?” These same people, in due season, become humbled by the same God on whom they spit. We who are hidden in Christ recognize we are nothing and no one outside the perfect will of God. We are to become as dust and ash as did Job at the end of his trials. He once leaned heavily on his abilities to accomplish all he did pre-trials. He stirred God’s wrath by justifying himself. Unlike the norm, Job finally saw the error of his ways, humbled himself and was then positioned before the Almighty to be doubly blessed.

When will we see from the perspective of Heaven? When will God’s people humble themselves, make themselves as nothing so that God may intervene? We’re so busy being angry with God for not stepping in or having allowed our predicament in the first place. We are remiss simply because we do not understand He’s attempting to bring us to foolishness so that He may be our wisdom, our solace, our Savior, our everything.

When All My Strength Has Failed

Chapter 6, part I of III

Alexys V. Wolf

 

When All My Strength Has Failed

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Chapter 5b: Abdicating the Throne of Flesh

True Circumcision:

“For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh…(Philippians 3:3, NAS).”

“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest (Ephesians 2:3, NAS).

Definition of Circumcision: removal of the foreskin or prepuce of the male genital organ

In the natural, circumcision is a customary, religious practice of being set apart from other people groups by removing a layer of skin not required for life. It is removed as a symbol of purity. One is born with it but is not necessary to sustain life, much like the appendix or gallbladder. Spiritually, God calls His people to be “set aside” through circumcision. We’re all born with a fleshly, sinful nature, but it must be cut away so as to be set aside unto God. It has everything to do with characteristics and predispositions with which we are all born. To say, “I was born this way” as if to excuse sin or bad behavior is invalid before God. We’re all born with characteristics, flaws and temptations that, once in Christ, must be abdicated to God through spiritual circumcision. For that matter, we’re all born little babies, but we do not remain in such a form.

To be circumcised in Christ means you live only unto Christ and you willingly cut away that which is displeasing to the King. It is a matter of surrendering everything. “Put no confidence in the flesh” Paul says, by definition, the flesh is defiled. The fleshly nature of mankind is a heavy yoke no one can bear very long. It is condemned and can breed only corruption, no exemptions. There is no exclusive club comprised of people who are born into righteousness. We are all born into the nature of the world with our minds corrupt from birth. There are natural weaknesses that don’t need to be kept and controlled; they need to be forfeited altogether for the cause of Christ.

A baby or young child may be innocent from blatant sin, but a child naturally knows how to manipulate with crying, whining, begging, nagging and things of the like. It comes naturally figuring out quickly how to get what it wants. That isn’t innocence, that’s the sin nature at work without even realizing what’s happening.

It is crucial you and I understand we are all born into the sin nature of Adam. There is no good person good enough that God would look upon them and say, “Okay, you, you and you are exempt from resigning the Adamic nature because I like your style!” Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? There is no one good but God (Matthew 19:16; Romans 7:18).” True circumcision is spiritual and it is a matter of cutting away that which divides you from intimacy with God.

All God’s people should desire and pray that “the natural will become unnatural and the supernatural of God become natural.” Translation: you personally should be so attuned to and led by Holy Spirit that acting worldly becomes unnatural, and operating supernaturally, as God, becomes everyday life. In this condition, whatever unholy characteristics are present with which we are born, they are brought into submission to the Holy One so that He will reign in their stead.

When All My Strength Has Failed

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Chapter Four: Identifying with God

Definition of Identify:

 1. to know, discover or reveal who someone is or what something is

2. to cause to be or become identical

3. to conceive as united (as in spirit, outlook or principle)

Most people do not identify with God and, in turn, cannot share His perspective because they cannot relate to His person. I asked the Lord a long time ago to show me how I can convey to people how to walk in total freedom from the cares of this world. What He revealed was, I can teach and counsel all day long but, until the individual person desires to come into a friendship relationship with Him, they will always be slaves in some capacity regardless of how much information they possess.

Most people serve God out of a slavery mindset despite the fact He desires everyone to serve Him out of friendship. Abraham could “call the things that were not as though they were (Romans 4)” because He was such great friends with God; it was a mutual, relatable relationship because he identified with the Almighty. He simply did what God did. He knew God’s character and trusted it. Abraham served God because he loved Him and so they became “identical”, so to speak. In the natural, you help your closest friends because you love them and desire to help them, not because you see yourself as their slave. A true friend serves out of love, not obligation due to the capability of identifying one with another.

You can only realize your identity in Christ when you begin to identify with and relate to His pure love. Until then, you do not identify with His Spirit because flesh cannot identify with spirit. One cannot “relate” therefore no relationship can properly mature. Choosing to hold to any aspect of the flesh separates you from God and keeps you from identifying with Him on His supreme level. It is the flesh that says, “You aren’t good enough, He isn’t good enough.” You have to identify with people before you can formulate a friendship; the same applies in relation to Christ.

To identify is to connect or to relate; to become identical. Most relationships with God are shallow and meaningless. You say, “Have faith,” yet you are faithless yourself. You say, “I am a friend of God,” yet hold to worry, stress, anxiety, sorrow, fear, anger, greed, lust, bitterness and anything else that is not of God. As your best, closest, dearest friend, He wants to alleviate all your burdens and has the supernatural capacity to do so. Most do not allow Him because of an identity crisis. If your identity is not resting completely in the perfection of the blood of the Lamb, you are in spiritual-identity crises. The result is, since you cannot see as God sees, it is impossible to respond according to the Spirit.

When your identity is grounded in Christ, you will fully be able to laugh at the days ahead (Psalms 2:1-5)! You can laugh because you have the mindset of the future and not the past or present; you have an eternal view to the Kingdom instead of your here-and-now circumstances. The future is already God’s past. When distress, conflict or opposition comes against you in any form, you will be able to laugh heartily. Your trust will be founded on and grounded in The Rock of all ages. You will no longer be tossed around by the enemy because your vantage point will be that of Heaven. Identifying with God will change everything you say and do and how you react.

Insecurity and Depression:

As I observe the general population of the professing body of Christ, I see, more often than not, people who are lost. I don’t mean “not saved from hell” but lost in a sense of not knowing who they are in Christ. They have yet to identify with the overall nature of Christ, His impenetrable love, the love that no man can hinder.

People who have been saved from hell numerous years are still full of fear, doubt, anger, prejudices, vices, addictions, depression, bitterness, and so much more. Why? The answer is simple. They have not come to a place to experiencing the magnitude of God’s character. They continue to identify only with a God far, far away. They believe enough to not go to hell and to place their faith in the Bible (what they know of it); some know the Bible inside and out and even preach fervently. Yet, with all this, they still have not locked into the person of God. They have not identified or related themselves to the person of God, or with His unimaginable, unfailing love so as to do good to His people instead of harm.

These same people pray, pray, pray, longing for God to be near them, all the while missing the fact that God has promised to never leave or forsake them. These folks who are in crisis beg God to help them because they don’t realize that it is God’s nature that caused Him to help them long before their problem manifested. They are unaware of His help because they are not connecting to God as He so desires. Panic should never come to a person well-identified with the King, Lord and Savior. Identifying with The Comforter, aka Holy Spirit, will ease such panic, fear, doubt and the nature of the flesh as a whole. The natural man birthed from Adam can never relate to God – never. This is why the rule of the flesh must be abdicated.

My friend, Lisa McGlown, said, “If Christians really believed we are who God says we are, would so many have low self-esteem, be so insecure, and feel the need to abuse others via control and/or religion, in order to feel better about ourselves? Most religious people just declare things, but never are what or consistently do or are what they declare. Do Christians really believe the Bible or just idolize it and the people therein? Do many just adhere to the writings that benefit them, that feed or comfort their egos insecurities, fears, emotions?” Excellent questions, indeed.

Encouragement for Parents with Chronically Ill Children

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EncourageWordleOne of many issues with having a chronically ill child is dealing with quilt, shame and condemnation as though it’s all your fault. I am not one prone to any of the aforementioned because I have learned through the Word of God that none of those, or any of their counterparts, are of the Kingdom of God. They are, in fact, of the kingdom of darkness and I refuse participation. Nevertheless, there are moments during this arduous journey with Sophia when I have encountered people who ridiculed me. They cited numerous reasons why Sophia being ill was all my fault, be it for physical or spiritual reasons.

From a physical aspect, I’ve heard I didn’t feed her enough fruits and vegetables; I let her eat too much junk and/or processed foods. On the spiritual front (as previously mentioned in other blogs), I must be entertaining demons, have hidden sin, or I’m simply not walking according to faith. I am the first to call myself to accountability and to check myself with God as well as how I feed my family. I have definitely been faulty in the food arena as it is, by far, my worst weakness. I barely eat, Sophia barely eats and, because of this, we generally choose poorly when we do. We’re working to resolve these issues. As for the spiritual, I stand before Almighty God daily with the heart, “Show me every wicked way in me that I may confess, repent and be made whole.”

Because of this, I do not allow other people to project onto me their condemnation. In this, I do not take on the weight of guilt or shame. In like fashion, I do not allow guilt, shame or condemnation to come from my own psyche. We humans tend to beat ourselves to a pulp blaming ourselves for other people’s ailments, namely our offspring. I’ve had moments, definitely, where I felt guilty in that, because I’ve had autoimmune issues since I was 20, it’s my fault she’s like this. Then there’s the, “If I had done something differently or better when I was pregnant, she would be healthier.”

We must understand that, regardless of what we could have done better or differently in the past, it is the past – there’s no going back. Condemning ourselves from what others say or what we have internalized as our fault is a waste of time and energy that would be better spent finding the best resolution of the situation. Kids are sick for many reasons. For us personally, it so happens we had several molds in our home and it was literally killing Sophia and, for that matter, me. I was severely ill several years having dominant lupus symptoms. The mold techs rid 1/3 of our home from mold Fall 2015. Unfortunately, my office (now Sophia’s bedroom) still contained heavy mold to which she is severely allergic. When I moved out of that room in 2015, I gradually recovered. She moved in and became seriously worse. Just last month, we had mold removed once more. Already we’re seeing improvement in Sophia’s overall health.

Moral of the story: Get to the root of the problem and take appropriate action. If it’s spiritual, deal with it before God and get your spiritual life in order. Yeshua is not a God of guilt, shame or condemnation, but of renewal, transformation, forgiveness and regeneration. If it’s physical, make the proper renovations to your home, your lifestyle, diet, or wherever necessary. Whatever you do, do not allow guilt, shame or condemnation to play a part of your process. It is of Satan. It will destroy you faster than the actual health problems.

Take a breath. Seek God. Stay encouraged. Have faith in God’s plan and purpose. Love your child. Take each day one at a time. Be proactive. Speak healing not the illness. Pray for God to open your eyes to that which you do not see, your ears to hear that which has been silent, and open your mind to understand the inconceivable. He will respond. He is faithful.

Navigating the Fiery Black Holes of Life

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Demonic Oppression and Possession:

Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw (Matthew 12:22, NAS).”

As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel (Matthew 9:32-33, NAS).”

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world (I Peter 5:8-9, NAS).”

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11, NAS).”

For forty days, being tempted by the devil…(Luke 4:2, NAS).”

 

Possession Definition:

     1: to have and hold as property: own

     2: to have as an attribute, knowledge, or skill

     3: to seize and take control of: take into one’s  possession

     4: to enter into and control firmly: dominate <was possessed by demons>

     5: to bring or cause to fall under the influence, domination, or control of some emotional   or intellectual response or reaction <melancholy possesses her>

Oppress Definition:

     1: archaic: suppress

     2: to crush or burden by abuse of power or authority

     3. to burden spiritually or mentally: weigh heavily upon

 

Sometimes (not always) the cause of our black holes is demonic and we need to understand how to recognize when this is happening. Without question, when we read the Scriptures we cannot exclude demonic possession and oppression, but we need to understand the difference between the two.

A born-again believer can be possessed, contrary to popular belief. This can happen from blatant sin or even veiled sin, but it cannot happen to one who is walking according to the Spirit in obedience to His commands. Possession can occur when a child of God dabbles or delves deeply into any form of witchcraft such as Ouija boards, tarot cards, psychic readings, horoscopes, séances, or things of the like. Possession in reference to demons is where a person (saved or unsaved) is controlled by a demon and they need to be delivered from such possession. Possession always comes from sin.

On the other hand, oppression is where a demon is harassing a person but is not controlling them from the inside. In like fashion, the demons can be bound away in the name of Jesus if the person surrenders in obedience to the Lord. Oppression can come from outside sources such as someone speaking witchcraft over you, generational oppressive spirits, speaking negativity into your own life (life and death are in the power of the tongue), blatant or veiled disobedience, and so on; oppression can come from personal sin or the sin of others set against you. Again, He sent His evil spirit to King Saul who was in disobedience; it overtook him only because he was not consecrated unto the Lord.

The best way to come against such oppression or possession is to pray for God’s guidance into obedience and command the spirits to be loosed from their assignment over you in the name of Jesus and then release Holy Spirit as the only spirit active as your life. With possession, often there needs to be deliverance intercessors but with oppression it isn’t as difficult to be released. The bottom line, plainly speaking, is it’s the name of Jesus and surrendered obedience to His commands that release one from possession and oppression.

If the cause of your troubles is oppression or possession, either way, the effects upon your life are detrimental until Christ is released so as to have full governing access to you. God created and owns every demonic spirit; therefore, God through His Son is the only solution. He has given power and dominion to the body of Christ over all demonic spirits. Obedience and surrender to the Great I AM will usher such power to you hence causing the proper effect. Never forget, every problem has a resolution available through Christ.

 

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