Healing Line

Healing Line

I Am Not Perfect

by Francis MacNutt
Jan/Feb 2010

Way back in 1976, I was privileged to be a leader and a speaker at the Catholic Indian Congress in Fort Peck, Montana. The Native Americans who invited me were Lakota (Sioux). For me it became a wonderful but humbling learning experience.

One of the things I learned was that when the Lakota create their crafts, they purposely leave an imperfection which it is hard to find. For example, if you own some authentic Native American beadwork, there will be one bead missing or in the wrong place, although it may be difficult to see. The teaching is simple: only God is perfect; the Lakota make that clear in their art.

Since I, in my spiritual life, was trying my best to be perfect (misinterpreting Christ's remark, "Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect"), and since human beings can't be perfect, I was perpetually feeling slightly guilty. I think most of us are set up for failure, and are weighed down by a vague feeling of guilt.

And here is how it works.

Almost all of us have three or four major areas where we concentrate our lifetime energy. Each of these areas is different and requires a fulltime effort if we are going to succeed. For example, your family should occupy a major part of your life. Your goal is to become as perfect a father or mother (or child, or spouse) as you can. This, however, when done well, is a fulltime job.

And then you have your profession or occupation: CEO, teacher, or day-laborer. And this, too, is a fulltime work, and the higher you rise, the more successful you are, the more time you will spend at it. At a minimum, you may have a 9 to 5 job, but if you really are successful and rise to the top, you can hardly spend less than 70 hours (or more) in being the CEO of an organization. The more successful you are, the more you have to take time away from your other obligations.

And then, you may have a goal of being perfect in your Christian vocation. St. Paul encourages us to "Pray always." And your Christian ministry may become fulltime. I remember that whenever I used to hear a speaker try to motivate me to pray by saying, "I get up at 4 a.m. every morning and pray for an hour in order to start the day right," I would always feel guilty by comparison, because I don't get up until 7 a.m.

Added to that, we have our social lives; and we can fill our calendars by going out to dinner almost every evening; this may very well be necessary to maintain your standing in the community. And when we are invited to dinner, we feel the need to return the invitation or you will soon appear to be ungrateful or anti-social. The more successful we are in our work, the more sociable we may also have to be.

Now, to do each one of these perfectly is a fulltime work, and one of the other areas is bound to suffer. I am set up to fail.

We who have families recognize how we fail to measure up in fulfilling our parental responsibilities. Many famous evangelists testify to having angry, rebellious and neglected wives and children. Being a successful minister may mean that I become an unsuccessful, imperfect parent. The greatest English preacher in the 18th Century was probably John Wesley, but his marriage was, frankly, a disaster. We can probably name a several famous Christian leaders in our day who have openly repented for greatly neglecting their spouses and children.

Since all these areas are fulltime jobs, we are set up to fail. How can I be a perfect husband or wife (or father or mother) and also be a successful businessman, or a successful athlete, or a successful religious leader? It's an impossible ideal.

And the Lakota Indians symbolize this truth in their art.

The truth is this: you cannot be perfect. Only God is perfect. So, what can I do?

There are several things where we have a head start if we are truly Christian. For example, if we really follow the teachings of Jesus, we will not be materialistic. Jesus warned us not to seek riches. If we really moderate our desire to make money, our standard of success in life will be different. Who really cares how large our salary is, how large our house is, so long as we have the necessities of life?

If I have been freed from an excessive need for fame, for reputation, or for success, I will be free from the pressure to be a popular success. This should be greatly moderated by Jesus' teachings. And not only by his teaching, but as the Spirit transforms me, I will actually be much less driven by the need for material possessions or for fame.

Why do the marriages of so many famous celebrities fail? Isn't it clear? Their weakness in Gospel terms is their excessive desire for applause, for designer clothes, for high-powered cars. They have made choices, even without knowing it. You cannot succeed totally in one of these areas without failing in another.

What good does it do to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of my soul? Jesus doesn't promise us riches, or fame, or power. If I feel guilt about not achieving success in these worldly terms, I need to recognize that this is a false guilt.

And always I will bear the weight of realizing that in some area of my life I have failed to achieve what was possible. But I want to embrace my imperfection, as long as I did my best.

I rejoice (if I have done my best to avoid serious sin) in accepting my imperfection, my littleness. I am imperfect, and I live in an imperfect world, and an imperfect church, even while I'm doing my best to bring it my love and healing.


Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Jan/Feb 2010 Issue


Be Mine

by Linda Strickland
Jan/Feb 2010

My favorite year of grade school was fourth grade. Mrs. Vogel was my teacher, and she was wonderful. There were several things that I loved about her, but the thing I most appreciated was how she always looked you in the eyes when you were talking to her. You knew that she was really listening, and she made you feel that what you were saying was important to her.

Mrs. Vogel loved Valentine's Day, and the year I was in her class she covered the walls of our room with red and pink paper hearts. A few days before our Valentine party, she had us decorate empty shoe boxes with red and pink paper, white cotton balls and glitter. I glued way too much glitter on my box, as I excitedly anticipated the many valentines my box would hold — especially one valentine in particular.

On Valentine's Day my stomach was in knots as I watched Artie, the boy I was crazy about at the time, walk around the boxes dropping his valentines here and there. As I closely watched him, I noticed that he never dropped anything in my box... and my heart was broken! Although I had given everyone in my class a small-store bought valentine, I had worked for hours on cutting and pasting a very special valentine for Artie. When the bell rang at the end of the day, I hurriedly grabbed my box, cotton balls and glitter flying, and ran home with tears stinging my eyes. I felt so foolish!

When I got home I ran straight to my room, tossed my now glitter-free box on the floor, and threw myself across my bed. And for the first time in my life, I cried over a boy.

Later that evening I decided to open the discarded box and read my valentines. After looking through the pile, there in the very bottom of the box was the most beautiful valentine I had ever seen. As I opened the hand-made, glitter-covered red heart, I saw the words "BE MINE" in capital letters. It was signed, "Love, Artie."

My 10-year old heart was so elated that I didn't stop smiling for a week…which was about the same time that a boy named Rusty caught my eye. As I think back to this memory, I am filled with raw emotion at the intensity of our need to belong…to feel accepted, wanted and cherished by someone. Reflecting on my feelings at that time, I am aware of how the tears I shed were more about the loneliness and rejection I felt than about Artie himself. And as a result, I felt less of a person.

This simple little story from my life is just one small example of how I used to allow either my emotions or other people to tell me who I was. I couldn't hear the voice of the one who created me because the other voices were just too loud.

Self-identity covers so many parts of the human experience, and much of our self-identity is formed by the environment in which we live, either within our families or the outside world. And in our search for identity in this world, it is easy to become distracted, and we end up listening to the lies of the enemy rather than the voice of the Beloved.

In Level 3 of our Schools of Healing Prayer®, we have a talk on Intimacy and Identity. In this powerful teaching we talk about the importance of knowing the source of our identity. If we base our identity on anyone other than Jesus, we will always struggle with loneliness, fear and rejection. Jesus always knew the source of his identity, and he never wavered…even when he knew he was going to the cross. For his entire life, he operated and lived in his true identity and this was because of his relationship with his heavenly Father.

In Francis' book, Healing (Appendix 3), The Rev. Tommy Tyson talks about the importance of realizing our relationship with the Father through Jesus. He says, "Jesus became what we were so that we might become what he is. Jesus comes into all of us, becomes mind of our mind, spirit of our spirit, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. God's purpose is to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ; God intends for us to be like Jesus — not in the abstract, but in the concrete here and now. He accomplishes this by the power of the Spirit working within us."

He then goes on to ask the questions, "How do you see people? How do you see people in your heart? How do you see yourself before the Father? Do you let Jesus Christ establish in your heart who you are in the light of his love? This is what the Holy Spirit does. He shows us who we are separated from God, and then shows us who we are in relationship to God."

I am constantly overwhelmed by God's love for us, and how all through Scripture we are met with beautiful valentines, inviting us into relationship with Him. Over and over He says to us, "BE MINE" in capital letters!

As you enter into this New Year, I pray that you will know who you are, by remembering whose you are.

Bless you, my friends, and have a Happy and Joyful New Year!!


Linda Strickland Linda Strickland is CHM's Associate Director of Ministry and Assistant to Judith MacNutt. Jan/Feb 2010 Issue


A Healing Place

by Judy Smith
Jan/Feb 2010

Blessings Happen at the Bookstore

People come to Christian Healing Ministries for various reasons. Some come to receive prayer, others for a miracle, and for some, it is to hear from the Lord. People receive healing in our prayer rooms, during the conferences, and oh yes, even in our bookstore. Prayer and miracles take place in our bookstore on a regular basis. There have been many instances where a package mailed to Australia has been lost and after prayer by Jane Wilson and Janice Melton, it miraculously appeared on the appointed doorstep. Someone in need of a particular book (that we don’t carry) finds it “miraculously” on the shelf. Jane often prays over books as they are being packed and shipped. Especially, the book by Francis MacNutt, Deliverance from Evil Spirits has an especially hard time making it to the buyer’s home; but after praying over it before it is mailed, it arrives intact.

“Getting to know the patrons is the best part of working in the bookstore”, says Jane and Janice. “We meet the most wonderful people through working here”. Whether you visit in person, call in a phone order, or order through the internet; Jane comments that she serves the “nicest people”. Jane sees her job at the bookstore as an important and integral part of the healing ministry that goes on at CHM. She will often be asked to pray with an individual at check-out. After people come to CHM, they have an opportunity to receive restoration through prayer by our prayer ministers, by listening to CD’s, viewing DVD’s on healing or reading a book. If you have attended a School of Healing Prayer you know from listening to Francis and Judith MacNutt speak that people receive healing in many different ways. One thing for certain, Jane is always there, ready to make a reading recommendation based on your need.

We are all envisioning how the larger bookstore at the “New International Healing Center” will reach out and meet the needs of our community, as well as our CHM family in a greater way. The bookstore will expand from 250 sq. ft. to approximately 1000 sq. ft. to accommodate a reading area and a gift shop. The increased space will provide the ability to make available hard-to-find titles and the most requested books. It will not look like anything we have now. Imagine the new bookstore four times larger, surrounded by glass, so everyone can appreciate the view of beautiful live oak trees. Please join us in praying that the bookstore at the new center will be all the Lord intends it to be!


Judy Smith Judy Smith is the Coordinator of Donor Services for CHM. Magazine Issue


Wear Your Helmet!

by Sara Flynn
Jan/Feb 2010

On Labor Day, I fell off my bicycle and hit my head on the sidewalk. I couldn’t find my helmet that day and went off without it. I sustained a serious concussion which has resulted in temporary double vision. Since then, I have given considerable thought the importance of wearing my helmet every time I go biking. I have also thought about the fact that I did put on my spiritual armor that morning and thank God; my injuries could have been much worse.

At the most recent School of Healing Prayer®, several speakers, including Francis, stressed the importance of praying for protection every day. Make no mistake; the body of Christ is under attack.

Francis, as you may know, has written a Prayer of Protection that we use daily at CHM and teach at our School of Healing Prayer®. I want to share it with you again here:

 

In the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of His cross and Blood, we bind up the power of any evil spirits and command them not to block our prayers. We bind up the powers of earth, air, water, fire, the netherworld and the satanic forces of nature.

We break any curses, hexes or spells sent against us and declare them null and void.1 We break all assignments of any evil spirits sent against us and send them to Jesus to deal with them as He will. Lord, we ask you to bless our enemies by sending your Holy Spirit to lead them to repentance and conversion.

Furthermore, we bind up all interaction and communication in the world of evil spirits as it affects us and our ministry.

We ask for the protection of the shed blood of Jesus Christ over ________________ (our families and all those we hold dear, our homes, cars, pets, job, churches, etc).

Thank you, Lord, for your protection and send your angels, especially St. Michael the Archangel, to help us in the battle. We ask you to guide us in our prayers: share with us your Spirit’s power and compassion. Amen.2

 


Francis and Judith recommend adding a petition for protection from accidents, sickness and harm. They note that when they pray these prayers together as a married couple, they are more effective. They observe that when one of them has an accident, they didn’t pray their prayers of protection together that day.

Francis and Judith pray prayers of protection for the CHM staff, board, prayer ministers and their families each day and we value their spiritual covering very much. If you are a prayer minister, ask your spiritual authority to cover you in prayer each day.3

I, along with several others, recently interviewed a former satanic priest who was also a Wiccan for many years (he placed his faith in Jesus Christ this year and received deliverance prayer at CHM last spring). During the interview, we showed him a copy of CHM’s Prayer of Protection. He was impressed that we included prayers concerning the elements of nature; he said those are the exact elements on which witches call to curse victims.

In addition to the Prayer of Protection, we recommend putting on the whole armor of God as described in Ephesians 6:10-18. Each day I pray, “Because of Jesus’ love and sacrifice for me, I am honored and privileged to put on the helmet of salvation4; the breastplate of God’s righteousness and the girdle of His truth. For shoes, I put on the peace that comes from the Good News of Jesus Christ so that I will be prepared to fight at all times. I take up the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Lord, please remind me of scriptures today which will defeat Satan and his dark realm); and the shield of faith behind which I stand firm and pray against the fiery darts of the enemy.”

I also pray daily prayers similar to those found in Liberty Savard’s book, Shattering Your Strongholds (see also Joy Lamb’s book, The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God):

 

I bind my mind to the mind of Christ.5

I bind my will to the will of Christ.

I bind my emotions to the emotions of Christ.

I bind by desires to the desires of Christ.

I bind my affections to the affections of Christ.

I bind my feet to the paths of Christ.

I bind my hands to the works of Christ.

I bind my mouth to the words of Christ.

I bind my ears to the Words of Christ.

I bind my eyes to the vision of Christ.

I bind my character to the truth of Christ.

I bind my heart to the love of Christ.

“I loose from myself anything that is not like Christ (lust, anger jealousy, selfishness, pride, arrogance, gossip, criticism, judgment, etc.) and declare all of those aspects of the old sin nature dead in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:20). I present myself, a living sacrifice, as an instrument of righteousness and not of sin. All this I do for the sake of my Lord, Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit and all for the glory of God, my Father in heaven. Amen.

 


Having done that, I ask the Lord to send his ministering angels to sustain me and my loved ones (see Hebrews 1:14). We can renew these prayers of protection several times during the day and before sleeping as well.

Finally, pray in tongues at least fifteen minutes a day6. The Holy Spirit wants to minister to us directly. One of the few things I remember about the ambulance ride to the hospital the day I fell off my bike is that I prayed in the Spirit all the way there. Perhaps that’s because I always pray in tongues as I drive to work. Now that I have one eye covered to mitigate the double vision, my driving prayers are even more important – for me and everyone else on the road.

I implore you to wear your bicycle helmet but even more to cover yourself spiritually as well. If you’re looking for a spiritual discipline to practice in 2010, look no further. As the Nike advertisement says, “Just do it!”

1I add, “…and please send abundant blessing in place of any curse.”
2This prayer is available on a wallet sized card through our bookstore.
3For more on the importance of spiritual covering, read John Paul Jackson’s book, Needless Casualties of War.
4Salvation literally means “the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc.” (www.dictionary.reference.com)
5Reading scripture is also critically important for daily renewal of the human mind.
6I recommend Dennis Bennett’s book, The Holy Spirit and You, a Study Guide to the Spirit Filled Life, for those who do not yet have a personal prayer language and want one.


Sara Flynn Sara Flynn is the Ministry Program Director at CHM. Magazine Issue