Do You Speak in Tongues?

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Do you speak in tongues? Yes I do, but do you and why? Being raised Pentecostal and choosing to continue in the Pentecostal tradition as an adult, speaking in tongues has never been a scary or foreign topic. I have spoken to many Christians outside of Pentecostalism who have a variety of opinions on this matter. Most of the opinions come from cessationist, those who believe that there was a gift of tongues given to the early Christians but that after the days of the Apostles it ceased along with the other spiritual abilities such as healing, and prophecy. Those of us of the Pentecostal persuasion are considered continuationist, because we believe all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to the church on the day of Pentecost and have continued on up to the present day.

I love spirituality and the mystical nature of Christianity, I was born to be a Pentecostal. I always figured if God is alive in the world, he is speaking to us through spiritual means. God is spirit, he is doing miracles every day in each one of our lives; we just have to look for them. I believe he has also given you and me the ability to perform miracles for the kingdom of God. We are spiritual beings, this means we have spiritual abilities. This is awesome! Yet many conservative fundamentalist find it scary. Why, I really don’t know or understand. Jesus said himself, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7, NIV) The NIV translates the Spirit as Advocate others say Comforter, basically the same thing. We know then that the Spirit of God is upon the earth. Jesus is no longer physically with us, but the Spirit is. Most Christian traditions believe in the Holy Trinity and would never deny this fact. But what about that gifts of the Spirit, specifically the gift of tongues also called glossolalia. Many Pentecostals believe that tongues is the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. While my opinion differs from most mainline Pentecostals I understand why it is used. Spirit Baptism is another article. Today the focus is just tongues. So tongues it is. It is considered by some the least of the gifts, a personal gift, yet also a gift that can be used in the church under proper order. Such as when one may be able to interpret what the Spirit is speaking to the congregation. I have seen this take place many times in my life, although I speak in tongues daily I have never interpreted. Listening to a message in tongues and hearing the message interpreted is a holy experience to behold. It is part of the joy of being open to the Spirt of God and his gifts. It is also an amazing powerful experience to speak in tongues; but what is tongues you might ask?

Where did tongues come from?

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As a Pentecostal Christian, I might look to the Biblical text to find out where tongues came from and of course look to the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2). What about prior to Acts 2 was there tongues before the coming of the Holy Spirit? Possibly. Some would look to Saul the first king of Israel “He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Samuel 19:25, NIV) to put it in a better perspective the ISV states that Saul was “Caught up in prophetic ecstasy.” Scholars often define tongues as a “disjointed, highly pitched, ecstatic series of ejaculations, similar to tongues spoken in times of spiritual awakening.”1   The book of Samuel also says the people thought he was among the prophets. This is interesting. Did all the prophets experience the gift of tongues during ecstatic experiences? It is a good question, without a solid answer. The Holy Spirit of God is God, and is not limited by time and dates of man. He has the discretion to do what he wills among us.

What about other faiths pre Pentecost and even today? We do have knowledge that spiritual awakenings and ecstatic experiences take place in mystical traditions around the globe. Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims, various shamanic traditions and mystical religions incorporate speaking ecstatically. Yet this surely is not the Spirit of God? No it is not. The Spirit of God is only moving through those of the Christian tradition because the Spirit is only going to point us to Jesus Christ. Then what the heck is these other religions doing? Is it the devil? I don’t think it is the devil I have another answer. I believe it is within our biology and spirit to be mystical beings. We are spirit after all. We are only temporarily living in these earthly temples. It is no wonder that other faith traditions are able to be speak in tongues because it may just be an ability that is in all of us.

The Christian experience of tongues that is still active today was initiated by the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This ability to experience this awesome spiritual activity is available to you. All through the book of Acts one can see how tongues was passed from believer to believer, often through the laying on of hands. This leads us to examine how one can receive the gift of tongues.

How can I experience this gift?

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Pentecostal denominations usually have doctrine that shows the process leading to the experience of receiving tongues. Many Pentecostals and many within my own denomination look at tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is where I disagree. I believe that we receive the infilling of the Spirit at the time of salvation. All of the abilities that the Holy Spirit may give to us are already within us; it just needs turned on. While many Pentecostals like to look at speaking in tongues as evidence of Spirit baptism, it is not an absolute. It is impossible to theologically know for sure. Sure we can derive a doctrine from the biblical text but so has 10,000 other groups, movements and denominations.

In short the answer is faith. If you want to experience the gift of tongues, you must have faith that you already have the ability. Remember you’re a spiritual being. Also after you receive it you must be able to believe what you are speaking is the gift of tongues. Often times as in my experience it was through the laying on of hands by my pastor. I not only spoke in tongues I felt the power of God moving through my body like electricity, it was a powerful spiritual experience. You must to let go of doubt and believe. Some Pentecostals believe that one must first be water baptized, while this may be ideal. I know it is not necessary, I have seen unbaptized believers speak in tongues. Although I highly suggest all believers to be baptized in water as the Lord commanded. I want to add that speaking in tongues should not be a one and done experience. It should be the beginning of a life long journey into a powerful prayer life that is beyond natural. So step into the supernatural and enjoy!

So what are the benefits?

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Actually this could be one article in itself. There is many benefits for the Christian who have realized that they have been filled with the Spirit possessing the ability to perform spiritual acts such as tongues. Paul tells us that in 1 Corinthians 14 how people should speak in tongues. He tells us that we are speaking directly to God, that it is not the cognitive self which is praying but the minds or spirit; the true self. In my opinion, many of us do not know what to pray for in the body, tongues will allow your spirit to communicate to God’s Spirit and tells God exactly what needs to be spoken. This is supported by Paul’s letter to the Romans, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26, NIV) Tongues is a form of prayer that can be done all throughout your day in order to keep yourself better attuned to the Lord.

Paul states that we edify ourselves by speaking in tongues. Scientific research shows that speaking in tongues actually gives a boost to the immune system up to 40%. See for this and more medical benefits. https://beingunderthenewcovenant.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/medical-facts-about-speaking-in-tongues-%E2%80%93-carl-r-peterson-m-d/

Speaking in tongues brings one closer to God. It creates a shift in consciousness that allows the Spirit to speak to us in a way that ordinary prayer does not. Many receive a message in tongues for the church. Another brother or sister who is present may be able to interpret the message. Speaking in tongues allows you to be humble and not pray for your own interest but the interest of your true self. A person will receives peace of mind and better emotional stability. It allows us to pray without ceasing, to relieve ourselves of the stress of the day, and most importantly it is something I believe that God wants us to do. Jesus told his followers when he left to wait until they receive the Spirit. The first thing that they did after receiving the Spirit was to speak in other tongues.  This is the power that created the universe on the tip of your tongue we just need to have the faith to receive.

In my opinion my personal ability to speak in tongues, as well as being around the phenomena is a holy and powerful experience. It brings your walk with Christ to another level allowing you to experience God in a refreshing way. I know there are detractors who believe that this is “strange fire” yet like many things all I have to say is, if you don’t know I can’t explain it. Speaking in tongues is one of the best benefits of being Pentecostal and I encourage you to speak in tongues as much as possible. If you have not yet tapped into your ability, use your faith that God has given you and begin your new journey in the Spirit. Blessings!

Notes

  1. Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1984. 1137.

  

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For the Love of Money

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Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV.

Lawyers, sometimes you love them most of the time you hate them. That being said the legal profession is essential to the United States. They help balance our society, yet just as society is imperfect so are the lawyers. Many in whom seek to reach their legal tentacles into every part of everyday life. This can mean many live in poverty along with others not being able to achieve advancement because corporate America is afraid of being sued. We live in a lawsuit happy nation, with money being the motivator. Of course it doesn’t help that “we the people” play along when it is in our interest. The cycle of greed continues and I suppose we are all guilty at some point or another. This article is not one that is designed to bash lawyers; I had an amazing attorney fight for me when I needed it. This is an article that will go down many paths from felons seeking employment, individuals trying to better themselves through references, as well as illegals within the country who cannot find work because of their status.

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One of the biggest problems facing HR managers today is the fear of being sued for negligent hiring. Like most rules on the books they start out with good intentions, but oh that love of money. Paul spoke to Timothy telling him “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV). It goes both ways business desire to hire the best employees to profit their company and rightfully so, yet companies are intimidated by lawyers. Lawyers who will sue a business if said employee commits and act on the job in which negligent hiring can be proven. So these bully lawyers keep people out of work and entrapped in poverty. I have known many good companies who would hire reformed felons if it wasn’t for negligent hiring lawsuits. This is not just effecting people with felonies such as myself it is also effecting those with misdemeanors. We literally have millions of disenfranchised individuals in America. A new slavery of sorts. Oh of course you could say well you break the law you do the time. Except in the United States many times the time that is served is life. We live in a country in which draconian and puritanical laws are still in existence and once you are convicted of a crime it is a sentence of a scarlet letter for life. Rehabilitation is only a copout and the desire to keep a social class of slaves is fueled by the criminal justice system. Background checks are the norm for hiring in most companies and often the major intention is the fear of a negligent hiring lawsuits. What in the world did the country do before background checks? Well if history tells us anything it was doing a lot better than it is now. I know many people including myself who have a desire to work are unable to secure gainful employment. We are constantly turned down because of a criminal background. I like the quote from one of my favorite movies “The Kingdom of Heaven” The son comes to the father and says “I have committed murder” the father responds “haven’t we all.” Jesus spoke of murder taking place in the heart of man through hateful thoughts towards one another. I am mentioning murder it is obviously a hyperbole. Most people convicted of murder are sent to prison for life and most of the time it is justified. I am speaking about individuals such as myself who have never been to prison but still have a criminal history. Yes I have done wrong, I have paid for my choices, but should it be for life? Many companies have good hearts and would give many people second chances yet because of the possibility of negligent hiring they cannot take any chances. So what do we do? We cannot find work and we are not in prison. Many of us eventually do find some sort of manual labor after a duration of years, many just get fed up and end up back committing crime. Heck if society isn’t going to give you a chance then what’s the sense right? Wrong that is not the way to go about it. I decided to go back to school and completed a Bachelor’s degree and have almost completed a Masters. I actually have a goal of continuing if accepted into doctoral studies of religion. I find that academia being fairly liberal is also very accepting.

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Why can’t a person better themselves and actually get a good job? Who said we cannot be the societal changers of the world? We can be the catalyst for change in the coming years! I urge anyone who is feeling hopeless to take up the call of right living. Jesus has accepted you even when no one else will.  The God who has created the universe is the same God that can open the doors and make the impossible possible. Jesus said “believe.” My brothers and sisters who have a background do not give up hope. Do not go back to crime. I know society does not understand but as our numbers grow so does our power.  We serve a God who reached out to the likes of us.  He didn’t come to those who are well, but to the sick.

My second issue with the negligent hiring lawsuits is that companies are even afraid of giving out a professional reference to a perspective employers. I have recently dealt with this in my own life as well. I find it very disturbing that lawyers are even going after companies who give professional references. They will sue companies that provide a reference if he or she turns out to be a “negligent hire.” So now everyone is scared to speak to each other because of lawsuits. While lawyers many times help people receive freedom it is the blood sucking brood of vipers who plague us with their lawsuits who are destroying the fabric of society. The EEOC says that a previous employer must give dates of hire, and must tell the perspective employer if they would hire again. I guess that is something, but the EEOC has much more work to do. Congress has much more work to do. Yet I don’t know if they work? Hmm. Legislation must be passed to end negligent hiring lawsuits. The end of negligent hiring and background checks for most jobs must take place. I understand that there are careers that because of my poor choices I cannot do. I accept that but I will not accept being a slave. Such legislation if passed would literally put an end to most disenfranchisement of felons, and help the advancement of citizens in the workforce.

My third issue is not one that has much to do with negligent hiring but with illegals trying to find work. Yes I am liberal on this issue. We cry and complain that illegals are sucking the social services dry, yet we will not let them work. We say that they are taking “our” jobs but they do the jobs nobody else wants for very low pay. So who are the true criminals? Well if we let them work they would be paying taxes and would not need social services. Easy answer to a big problem, yet in all honestly the three situations that I am addressing money is the major factor; just don’t love it. If people can take pride in what they do and earn a living wage business would boom. Buying and selling would go through the roof. The so called American dream could still be had. Yet the lawyers and bankers have been getting in the way so long by stuffing their pockets most people do not even know what the American dream is anymore.

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The early church prior to the 3rd century had it together. The book of Acts gives a small window into what life was like. People gave to each other holding nothing as their own. They lived in community and the Christ consciousness was alive in them. I believe that we are in a time of awakening on the earth, and also within the body of Christ. Jesus loves his church and desires his church to be one. The elimination of denominations and divisions that keep us from being united are being torn down and a free range church is rising. There will be those left in the walls of buildings and institutions clinging to human fundamentalism instead of the way of the Spirit. Most of the modern Protestant doctrines were created by men in the last couple hundred years who at the time seemed radical. Yet many of us perceive them as biblical fact. John Darby Nelson who gave us dispensationalism basically a hypothesis that cannot be proven nor disproven. Dispensationalism and eschatology go hand in hand Darby divides time into periods both past and future based on biblical text. A cool idea but not necessarily true, and was a radical idea at the time. Also the rapture, also an idea based on biblical text whom many attribute to Cotton Mather. While the orthodox and catholic church dismiss the rapture it is popular in my breed of Christianity. I am not trying to knock these theories, I am saying they were radical during the early 1800’s. They are now common place and often taken as fact by some. Now we have new ideas that are alive in the church. I believe it is because of the global consciousness that is leading the world into Christ consciousness. Part of this is being Jesus to each other, living out the scriptures in our lives, not out of fear of damnation but out of love. Being a Jesus follower and living life as Jesus lived his.

I know that I have gotten off track. Yet I think that it all comes together when we live in community as Christians. I have been wanting to address the evils of negligent hiring practices along with the idea that change while scary can be a good thing. I believe that everything is spiritual in some way, everything is divine. It is okay to mix social issues with our faith.

We can try to keep people out, people who are created in the image of God. People who just didn’t have the moral luck that maybe some of you had. You may be wishing to advance yourself in the country and find yourself unable to because of the evils of the love of money. This sin which has bound and chained our country. From my article “No Borders in Paradise” you will know that I don’t believe in borders or illegal immigrants because we are all people of the earth united under Christ. All people should be given a chance to be a part of society despite their mistakes, legal status, and social class. We should all have the ability through hard work to advance ourselves in this world. Yet for this to be possible I think a complete restructuring of society is what is needed. I do not really know what this looks like, but I am working on it.

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Finally I want you to be positive. No that Jesus loves you. He is with you. His will is only in your best interest. Life is tough, it really wasn’t meant to be easy. We need to take the path of least resistance and follow the Spirit of God and not the spirit of humanism. The Spirit that says that all things are possible. The Spirit that cries out that there is no limits, no ceiling. That even when we have barriers in society they can be removed. Rules can be broken, don’t break the law but rules always have exceptions. Whether you’re a person like me with a past, someone trying to advance their career or here illegally and desiring to cut out a life for yourself. It is possible like our master said “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV). Blessings!

Before Birth

37386194rJust who were we before we were born? This is a question that I have not heard much about in any of my Christian circles. Apologist who believe that our existence started upon birth or at conception use 1 Corinthians 15 in order to negate the question. The Apostle Paul speaks of the natural being first, followed by death and then the resurrection to new life. This I do believe, yet it does not fill in all the blanks and the scriptures as a whole can be confusing. I find that this is a very interesting topic because the paranormal fascinates me and as a Christian I strongly believe in the afterlife and the paranormal. All Christians should. For one, the scriptures teach us that this life is short, that we are just visiting or passing through. So if we are just passing through where did we come from? I know we came from God but when? Something inside me tells me that we all have been around a lot longer than the date on our birth certificate. Why would I think something like this to be true? Why wouldn’t I just follow much of the fundamental church’s teachings? Well for one, I cannot say for certain that the church has everything right. I am also not afraid to speak about such issues that are spoken about in hushed tones or completely ignored. The world is chasing after every other teaching to fulfil their spiritual curiosity and many times Christians remain silent. Being a Christian is a mystical, and experiential life, it is amazing!  Many would not seek out other faiths if they understood Christianity. Most fundamentalist would say that there is God, angels, demons, and Spirits who reside in either heaven or hell. I believe this as well. It is also written that we are a little lower than the angels for a time. There is also the recorded creation in the book of Genesis which lays out what seems to be a creation of both spirit and body when God formed Adam. Yet like Jesus who was incarnated into the womb of Mary, who is to say that we are not all incarnated into the wombs of our parents from the spiritual world. Who is to say that the first Adam was sent to the earth to start the human race? I know that I am up against a tough argument, because it is also written that it is appointed for man to die and then the judgement. One could exegete Hebrews 9:27 and say that this is an event that takes place in every life that we live, that is if we are to believe that we make many trips to earth. Once again we would have to look at the following verse 28. So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. I strongly believe that Christ was offered only once for all, and that is all that was needed in order to cosmically change the universe. Christ brought salvation into the world through his death. We accept this salvation and understand that through this salvation we have been granted eternal life.

On the opposite side we can look at Jeramiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Now of course God was speaking to Jeremiah and not to us. Yet if you would take the passage across the hermeneutical bridge we realize that if he was talking about Jerimiah who was also a human being born in a body like all other humans so why wouldn’t it be any different for us? I don’t know. Just like many apologist who are against the idea of pre-existence use 1 Corinthians 15 there are a variety of other scriptures that seem to indicate that we existed before being incarnated into this body.

The whole entire first chapter of Ephesians is very interesting. Especially Ephesians 1:11-12 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. What it seems is that whatever existence that we had before we were sent to earth we were given the opportunity to become sons of God through Jesus Christ. The time that we are living on the earth is more of a transformational state or an initiation into the glory that is yet to come. This glory set aside only for us, those who have been chosen according to the author of Hebrews to be a little lower than the angels while we are on earth. This would surly light a fire under the enemy Satan who would obviously not want any more spiritual beings who are sons of God.

I know, I know as a fairly conservative Christian it is a strange topic to write about. Many may say just leave well enough alone. Or what is the point? Well it is these begging questions that are mysteries to us that I find irresistible. I personally believe that God incarnated each and every single one of us into the biological bodies inside our mother’s womb. That is what gives the value to the life in which she carries. A reason why I am such a strong advocate for Pro-Life. So we either were Spirits with God before we were incarnated into our bodies or we have made many trips to the earth. Several religions especially those of the East believe in reincarnation. I could write another article about it, but I think I will just incorporate it into this one. Jesus speaks of John the Baptist as Elijah. The book of Revelation also speaks of two witnesses who will be appointed for their duties in the end of days. These witnesses according to Revelation 11 will be appointed, killed, and then rise again from the dead in front of the whole world. Thank you 24/7 news. Many people who believe in reincarnation believe that the Spirits of man are no longer coming to the earth. The Dali Lama believes that he will also not be reincarnated. This goes against a long standing Buddhist belief.  Many conspiracy theorist believe that Pope Francis is the last of the Popes. We may be seeing these witnesses sooner than later. So be ready!

Finally the mind boggling stories of small children who have incredible knowledge of some sort of past life are very intriguing. This link shares some stories of small children under five that have amazing stories.  http://wallstreetinsanity.com/9-reincarnation-stories-that-will-give-you-goosebumps/ So what does this all mean as a Christian? I really don’t think it means much at all. It could all be true or I am completely wrong, I do not think that it matters so much. Most Christians have decided not to even go there. What I believe is true is that during this life we must accept what Christ has done for us. This life is most certainly a training ground for the next life, and we have been blessed to come to the earth. Kind of like Army basic training, it sucks but it also has the benefit that upon graduation you have morphed from a civilian to a full blown soldier. We may have been Spirit before this life but we may not have made it until we eventually become sons of God through Christ. Of course this is mostly all speculation but it is fun to think about. Blessings!

   

Panic Attacks and the Christian

o-PANIC-ATTACKS-facebookI have been going to church for most of my life and have not heard a lot of teachings on mental illness. This article will focus on my own personal story of anxiety, panic attacks, and substance abuse. First I am a Christian who has a mental illness. Know it is not demon possession or oppression. I am not lacking in faith, and I have a good prayer life. The point is that just as people suffer from other disorders that attack other parts of the body those of us with mental illness suffer in the mind. I remember when I was a teenager I would witness my grandmother suffer from terrible depression and anxiety. I would ignorantly think that it must all be in her mind. Well I was partially right it is in the mind, yet I did not know or understand the suffering in which she endured. That is till I started suffering from anxiety and panic disorder at the age of 25. For those of you out there readings this and also suffer in some form or another with a mental illness, and are also a professing Christian realize that you are not alone.

I also mentioned that I suffer from substance abuse as well, I currently have my substance abuse in remission, yet for many years I would use alcohol to self-medicate my symptoms. I do not want to focus so much on my substance abuse in this article I am not ashamed of it, I just want to take one thing at a time. This way I may be able to give some sort of spiritual insight in order to help my readers.

So what are panic attacks?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) gives guidelines to mental health care professionals to better diagnose their patients. I Know the V has come out but many of us are more familiar with the IV-TR so I will use its definition. If a person has four or more of the following

  1. palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  2. sweating
  3. trembling or shaking
  4. sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  5. feeling of choking
  6. chest pain or discomfort
  7. nausea or abdominal distress
  8. feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  9. feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
  10. fear of losing control or going crazy
  11. fear of dying
  12. numbness or tingling sensations
  13. chills or hot flushes

You may have experienced a panic attack. Yes these are very scary symptoms that is why many of us get to know the emergency room doctor very well.

Panic disorder is basically reoccurring panic attacks. Remember that in the United States only a professional can diagnose and treat panic disorder. I am not a professional I am a sufferer writing an opinion. If you have these symptoms there is help. Seek out a local psychiatrist and or a therapist who is professionally licensed to treat mental health disorders.

Being a Christian with a disorder such as panic can be a troublesome. These attacks lead many people including myself to an overconsumption of alcohol in order to self-medicate the disease. In the Christian world that can leave another stain on our Christian walk to outsiders.  Sure we shouldn’t worry about what others think of us, but we are human and we do. So we may prefer not to talk about it with our brothers and sisters in Christ, for fear of criticism. It is difficult when one can bring up verses in scripture such as

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:25-27, NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

And

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalms 55:22, NIV)

There are many more great verses that talk about anxiety and I truly appreciate them, I also absolutely believe in them.  Yet when your frontal lobe shuts down and common sense goes out the window many times the first response is to run to the medicine cabinet for your prescribed benzodiazepine.  After the drugs have kicked in, you can read the soothing verses and find peace. Obviously this is not how I want it.  I want to be able to truly trust and believe in the scriptures and allow the Spirit of God to bring peace to my heart that will calm me down and take away all of the irrational fears that I am facing. It just never seems to happen that way. I have been a Christian along time, I have come to realize that I have a disorder and I am learning to accept it and not fight it. In my opinion when we fight a disorder like panic we may be creating more friction and cause the panic to enhance.

I personally would like more teachings about mental illness to take place within the church. I don’t want to hear “just pray” “have faith” or “Christians don’t suffer from these things.” I know one thing if those that believe you can just pray or have faith started suffering from panic attacks they would be changing their tune. This is why knowledge of mental illness needs to be taught from the pulpit. Believers need insight in order to understand and help their brothers and sisters. If the church elder, priest or pastor doesn’t have training in the area of mental illness have a person speak once in a while who does. Have a sufferer give their testimony. In this article I am talking about my own panic disorder but there are numerous others disorders that Christians suffer from and may feel like they cannot turn to those who share their same faith.

Is there any advantage to having panic disorder? Well as a sufferer for 10 years I think the answer can be yes. I will explain.

I believe that many of us who suffer from panic disorder have a great possibility to be empaths. An empath is a naturally giving, spiritually attuned, good listener. Empaths can feel where you are coming from, and have the uncanny ability to relate to another person and understand their heart. A verse that reminds me of what an empath does is Romans 12:15-16 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (NIV)

We are sensitive people and while that can trigger emotional instability if we learn how to transmute this quality we can use it for amazing good.

Second, if we take action to treat our condition we can understand and learn humility and surrender of self. Our ego and selfish nature will tell us to hold on to our life. Our ego says we are dying and have not accomplished such and such, or we are scared of the future so our unconscious self sends us into a panic. Our amygdala goes out of order and the flight or fight feelings take over.  These issues can be worked through with a professional who possess many techniques to help us. After we have been given some insight into our panic we can understand that life is short, it is just a brief moment of time, and then we are on to the next life. God has given us this short life, we must learn to surrender this life to God and to our fellows. I am still working on this but it is where I am currently at in my Christian walk. The scriptures say to take up our cross, die to ourselves daily, it is not me who lives but Christ who lives in me. After going through hundreds of attacks and feeling like I have been near death many times, in a strange way it becomes easier to allow God to take control because nothing else seems to work. We become dependent on God almost in a manner that I cannot describe. You almost have to go through this disorder or something similar to understand.

Also we with panic disorders can become great inner workers. In other words we gravitate to prayer, meditation, exercise, and seek out inner peace.  We read and gain knowledge in the arts and sciences. We do these things in order to help our condition, this brings about great knowledge and ultimately can lead us to a great and profound level of life.  Our disorder creates a need to seek out holistic tools that many people wish they had the motivation to practice, while we are forced to master.  We then can use these mastered abilities to help others and change the world.

Most importantly as a Christian with panic disorder we are forced to rely on Christ. Jesus the great teacher starts to become a part of our lives more and more through our sufferings. Paul was forced to have a thorn in his side. God would not remove this thorn but assured him that his grace was sufficient. Our panic disorder is truly a thorn in the side yet as above mentioned it can bring about a good life if treated properly. Our panic disorder can bring about an awakening in our lives that can open up a new world in every way imaginable. I am still seeking these outcomes, but I believe it to be true. The verses mentioned above are true, Christ does not want us to worry or fear but to totally trust him.

Now I understand that is all well and good till your next panic attack. Believe me I know. Run for the medicine cabinet! Yet I do believe in what I am saying, and I am progressing toward the goal to not only live out a more productive life because of my panic disorder.  I also want to use it to help others live out a better lives also.

Path of Least Resistance

hfdhgszThe path of least resistance for many Christians seems like a foreign concept. Many American Christians desire to be at friction or war with our neighbors who happen to be different than us. Many, when thinking of “the path of least resistance,” will think of taking the easy way out, this is far from the truth. In fact the path of least resistance is the much harder path.  Now I know that many can and will quote scriptures that seem to be contrary to taking the path of least resistance. So let me tell you what the path of least resistance is, ready for this “To trust God in everything, to be at peace within yourself knowing that God is in control of all, to follow Jesus through the knowledge of the scriptures, becoming less associated with the self-will and increasingly transformed into God’s will.” Ultimately the goal is to rid one of self allowing one to enter into God. Jesus said For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:30) Jesus also states Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mathew 6:34) So forget yourself! If you want to read a book about the path of least resistance start with the book of Acts. The Apostles especially Paul followed this path he suffered shipwreck, prison, beatings, and finally death all while singing praises to God. Paul knew the secret which is not a secret at all. Paul did not have self-will he had God’s will. We do not have to force people into God’s will in fact it cannot be forced or bought it must be received.

Today in America we try to change people so much that we can end up forgetting that there is a God; who actually does the changing. We create resistance only to drain ourselves and make Christianity look like an ugly stain on society. We protest Gay marriage, guns, drugs, crime, abortion, and every other moral objection that comes out of our ten thousand plus denominations. Don’t get me wrong there is a war on Christianity yet our fellow man is not waging this war, the war is being waged by Satan and his fallen angels. Paul writes to the Ephesians telling them “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) Instead what do we do, we damn our fellow man to hell because they happen to be different than us or believe in a different political opinion, dress differently, come from a different culture or have a different type of theology. God loves these people too just as much as He loves you and me. Being in opposition brings irritation, only to makes you irritated, discontent, and unsatisfied with life. While you are thinking you’re on the road less travelled your actually taking the broad road of irritated, angry, and frustrated people. This is not the road to the kingdom this is the road of the fundamental Christian based on outdated American theology that came about in large part due to the Civil War and the argument over slavery. (That’s another article)

Let me show you a better way, or let me let Paul show you a better way.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13)

Paul understood that we can be annoying, irritated, and angry people, but these attributes will not win anyone to Christ.  Yet faith, hope, and love the three attributes that make up our true selves are used by the Spirit to draw all men unto Him.  When we step out of ourselves and into Christ we see that there is not a war on Christianity in America there is a war within us that becomes enraged when we see the country going the way in which we don’t agree with.  Let me finish with a proverb.

There was a man who won a car in a drawing, all of his friends were happy for him and expressed how lucky he was for winning such a nice car.  The man didn’t smile or frown just simply said “well maybe”

The man decided to take his new car out on a Sunday afternoon for a drive. While driving his car he was involved in a terrible accident that destroyed his car and landed him in the hospital. His friends came to him and said, how tragic that you have been injured and your new car destroyed. The man said again with the same attitude “well maybe”

While the man was in the hospital a storm came upon his town and a tornado demolished is home, again his friends visited him telling him how lucky he was to be in hospital during the storm. I am sure you know his comment.

Often we do not know the beginning from the end, but if we trust God for the outcome in all things we will be exactly where we need to be. At the center of His will.