Sunday, November 25, 2007

He Has Restored Me!! :)

If there ever was the perfect message to hear, today was it!! I'm not kidding!! Make sure you listen to today's message on our church's website when it is made available!! I can't emphasize it enough!! Today changed my life!!

So, what was so powerful? I'll tell you what, it's GOD!! It's GOD working through people to do miraculous things!! It was GOD using Tom Felger, the president of The House of Hope, to share a profound message of impact today!! I've got to tell you that when I saw he was preaching today, I was SO EXCITED because I KNEW that God would have a word for me and that this would be a pivotal and life-changing day for me.

Tom talked about surrender. Yeah, I thought that too……."oh no…..not SURRENDER!" That is a TOUGH word!! It's HARD to know what that means and what it looks like. Bit by bit, I have begun to understand, but it truly got driven home even deeper today.

Tom talked about his surrender; about how Jesus has always been his Savior, but never really his LORD. He said that he had it all together; he loved his job, family, his life, everything! Yet, he still felt like there had to be more (just like this song/video reminds me of - please check it out and really listen to the words! I've been singing it a lot lately). So, anyways, he said that he was given a book called "Prison to Praise" by Merlin Carothers. It's a very short, powerful, book - and only 106 pages! In fact, this book was also given to me (and I think by the same person - though Tom didn't mention names. I started on it, but haven't made it all the way through - but I will make it a priority to finish it this week). Tom said that he was told that the book would change his life - and it did!!

Tom said that after he read that book, he started thinking about how he just wanted more of God; to go deeper. He talked about how he realized that "your ability to TRUST God is largely defined by your IMAGE of GOD." He began taking God out of the "box" and began looking at Him in a bigger way. He also realized that he had to have a relentless pursuit of God and go after Him with all he had and surrender daily.

Surrender is a lifestyle. (Oh boy is it ever!! WOW! That really hit home for me!! I never thought of it in those exact words before!). And, how do we surrender? What does it mean? Here is another thing Tom said that really opened my eyes wide: "TRUST is the fuel for SURRENDER." Can anyone say, "WOW!!"?

Tom pointed out that we really have to TRUST in Jeremiah 29:11 which says: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us and when Tom said, "Do you believe that what God has is better than what you can come up with?" THAT really spoke to me too!! We don't always know what is best for us - even when we think we do. It takes that daily surrender and seeking of the Lord for us to KNOW exactly what He wants for us and from us. The bottom line being that above anything else - even of all the good blessings in our life - Christ is our highest calling. He should always be our number one allegiance. "Above all, I serve You," he said.

That principle is what really got Tom to thinking. He said he was reading his Bible outside one day, and the page kept flipping over. He kept turning it back to what he was originally reading, but that page kept flipping over. When he realized that it couldn't be the wind, or coincidence, he stopped to think for a moment. He said the Lord told him, "Why are you resisting me?" So, he thought to himself that if that page blew over again, he would read where his eyes fell. Well, of course, that page did turn again, and his eyes fell on these words: "…. do you truly love me more than these?…" - John 21:15 He said "THESE" really jumped out at him and got him to thinking what his "THESE" were.

What are your "THESE"? That is some heavy fuel for thought!! Do we really love Jesus more than "THESE"? Do we love Him? Do we TRUST Him? Tom pointed out that you can't love without trust. Indeed!! 1 Corinthians 13:7 says that love "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." So, how can we love God, or anyone, without trust?

Tom said his trust was really tested when he was miraculously healed of a disease that doctors said would pretty much cripple him as he got older and that there was no hope for him. He had dealt with it a long time, but God totally set him free from it!! He was prayed for, and he said that he just felt his whole spine come into alignment and he had no more pain. The doctors are absolutely stunned!! And, he said that when someone told him "When it tries to come back, don't accept it." he was a little mystified. But then, he saw what she meant because it did try to come back. Satan doesn't want us to be free and he wants us to doubt our healing. But, he said when the pain did start to creep back, he would just put his hand on it and pray over himself and the pain would leave. He also said God called him out on the fact that he was still keeping his pain pills. So, he finally took all of them and threw them away.

He also said that he began to get frustrated that it didn't seem like "total" healing because it kept trying to rear it's head again. He said he "had it out" with God and was out in the field on his knees praying and crying out; wondering why it didn't seem complete. He said he was distracted by all these birds, and a rabbit hopping around and all these creatures that seemed to be invading his space as he prayed. He said that he remembers God distinctly saying: "If you don't praise me, they will!!" (Oh, man!! I sure don't want birds, rabbits, or even STONES doing my job!!!).

Tom described prayer and praise as our offensive weapon. "Praise even when it doesn't make sense," he said. RIGHT ON!! There are ups and down in our life; it's NEVER "smooth" (and if it is, buddy, you've got a problem!!)

Thankfulness and praise is the key to getting through EVERYTHING!! If you allow yourself to be angry and bitter, the doubts will set in, and things will be all the tougher. No one knows this better than I!! This was definitely something I needed to hear, because I allowed my faith to be weakened in these last few months. It's like Kent always says, we got to persevere! We got to "face the fire, feel the heat, and find the gold." There IS gold!! God refines us!! All the good stuff - and maybe even more so, the BAD STUFF - refines us and makes us stronger!!

I decided that I wasn't going to let myself be "down" anymore. I wasn't going to be like a friend I knew who always allowed her bondage to come back. Every time she was set free, she would be drawn right back into it by refusing to accept her freedom completely and permanently. That would not be me. I KNEW that today was the day where I was going to receive my miraculous breakthrough - the final piece to all the breakthroughs that I have had this week (which I will not disclose at this time).

I was scared about going forward at the end. I knew I had to, but like so many times, one wants someone "else" to go first. But, I felt like God was saying that sometimes, we have to be the ones to step out first. I couldn't wait for someone else to submit before I did - because what if that would never come? So, I took Mitch, Phil, and Cindy up front with me, and they prayed for me. Then, Tom came down and prayed for me as well; along with his wife, Patrice, and a few other people.

By the time we were all finished, I felt such a release!! I am SO THANKFUL for all the friends I have that have carried me through this and helped me to resolve so many issues for me today!! I am even more grateful that I asked Tom to pray for my neck and back - which gives me a lot of pain (my neck especially). I can't describe it either, but my neck really feels different!! The surging pain that plagues me so often is not there now!! And, if it tries to come back, I will do what Tom did and I will place my hand on it, pray it away, and not accept the pain again!! I am just in such a state of amazement!! I mean, usually, I am always turning my head, cracking my neck and trying to get relief. Now, I feel like my neck and spine is straighter and it totally feels different too!! I move my neck side to side or downward, and I don't have that pain!!!! It feels like I had the best chiropractic adjustment ever, and I DID!! It was from JESUS; the GREAT PHYSISIAN; the MIGHTIEST HEALER OF THEM ALL!! I just can't get over how different I feel!! I had learned to live with it and had never thought of asking for prayer for it until now (it had been getting REALLY bad and unbearable!). PRAISE GOD!!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!!

There is so much more that I could say about my personal healing and progress today, but I won't. I was encouraged just to let God give me the words and timing and most importantly, to "rest" right now. So many times, I am in "overdrive" mode and my friends know just as well as I how much I can go on, and on, and on, and on……LOL So, I won't do that today. There's a time and season for everything. All anyone needs to know is what one of my best friends once said about me: "Satan, beware! World, behold!!" That's right!! It's ME!!!!! MELISSA IS BACK AND READY TO ONCE AGAIN WAGE WAR AGAINST THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS!!!!!

I just had to share today's message, as always. DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS ONE!! When they upload today's sermon on our site, PLEASE make it a priority to listen!! Tom is SO ANNOINTED BY GOD and today's message brought so much freedom to me - and to others, I'm sure!! GOD BLESS YOU TOM!! THANK YOU GOD FOR HOW YOU USE TOM, AND PATRICE TOO!!!!! WHAT A TEAM!! You and so many others have been the loyal brothers and sisters in Christ that I truly need!! I LOVE ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!! May God bless you and may God bless all those who read this!!!

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