-Happy Thanksgiving 2015


(“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth”: Wikipedia)

Happy Thanksgiving 2015 to you and yours. Our traditional Thanksgiving message follows:

Thanksgiving is an uniquely American celebration that began nearly four centuries ago with a deeply religious people, the Pilgrims, giving thanks to God for preserving them though a very hard year and bringing them their first bountiful harvest which they gratefully shared with their indigenous neighbors.

It was our first President George Washington who proclaimed that our first official national day of public thanksgiving should be dedicated by observing and:

“…by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.

In recent years the ‘politically correct’/secular crowd has rewritten the history of the first Thanksgiving placing an emphasis upon the hand that the indigenous American Indians played in helping the original Pilgrim community to survive. In the process they have redirected the emphasis on thanks towards neighbors and friends and away from the providence of Almighty God.

While it is always good to be thankful for others who have enriched our own lives and certainly that has a good part to play in the celebration. Nevertheless the major emphasis of Thanksgiving should always be upon God as it was on that very first occasion.

For my family and I, we will be praising and thanking the Lord God Almighty for the bounties and the providence that he has bestowed upon us this year in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. May Our Heavenly Father bless your family today and continue to bless all of us and this nation during this holiday season and in the year to come.           *Top

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-Re: ‘Gracelines’ -Examples of The Kingdom Breaking Through


Today during worship ( at Antioch Fellowship, Sedalia Mo) the Spirit was moving and the Kingdom was breaking through in a remarkable way with many participating both in Word and deed.

One brother, who called out a word of knowledge for healing backs and prayed for those who came forth, admitted that he had been discouraged with healing since he had not been healed and somewhat jealous when others were but had a clear word from the Lord that he should pray for others with the same problem and did in power. Praise God.

The Spirit reminded me of what we had experienced at my former long time church in California. We learned the hard way that preconceived notions and ‘theologies’ about healing usually got in the way and produced less healing since they in fact limited the ways and conditions under which God could move in our midst. The result was discouragement and less faith in healing among believers. After all, if you go through all of the prescribed actions and declarations and yet do not get healed you begin to wonder ‘what is wrong with me’ and you ask ‘why Lord were those others healed instead.’

I believe that one of the keys to having more healing in our churches is to foster a genuine atmosphere of thankfulness for every blessing the Lord does give us no matter how small and keep on keeping on. When others are blessed and healed, believers need to celebrate and see this as a sign and a demonstration that the door may now be open for them to receive their own healing and blessings. Testimonies play a vital part in this process by raising faith and expectation. First of all, healing is not a ‘zero-sum game.’ Our God is infinite in power and love for all the children in his family.

It reminds me of something we put into practice concerning healing at Vineyard Laguna Niguel in California several years ago after which healing among our people increased exponentially. First of all, a regular time was set apart for words of knowledge and healing during every service. Then testimonies of healing and miraculous blessings were also featured. Soon we discovered that certain illnesses were being healed time and again in our church. It was like a ‘beach head’ had been established against certain maladies. We started calling these- ‘Gracelines’ since a whole line of folks had been healed of the same thing. The following is an article that I wrote 2 years ago about what we experienced at the time and came to call ‘Gracelines’:

Last year was an extraordinary year at Vineyard Community Church Laguna Niguel and 2013 seems to be even more so. ‘More’ is the key word. The church is experiencing the Kingdom breaking through in a number of different ways especially in healings and miracles.

One thing that we have decided to do in the last several years is to continue to pray for healing until proven otherwise –death proving the otherwise. Some of our congregation have finally received remarkable healings after years of prayer with no results. This has encouraged us to keep on keeping on.

Along the way we are also learning to rejoice and celebrate even minor victories when God brings any kind of relief or partial healing. Some Christians seem to find partial healings to be somewhat controversial nevertheless we are dedicated to always celebrate what ever God gives us. Yet we also continue to pray for even greater blessings.

The most important change for us came when we began to notice that healings or miracles in one area seemed to open to door and dial up the faith for others to receive similar blessings. We started calling these ‘Gracelines’ since a whole line of similar healings, miracles, and testimonies have followed.

For 5 years or more our church had become a ‘migraine free’ zone where a large number of people in our congregation who used to suffer from severe reoccurring migraine headaches had received substantial healing. Doesn’t sound like much unless you are plagued and occasionally disabled by that malady.

Then this last year one of the key leaders in our healing rooms ministry received a remarkable healing of his eyesight in one eye which had severely degenerated. Then later he and others had prayed for a lady who was legally blind and her sight impossibly began to increase over a week or so until she could actually read again. More remarkable healings in eyesight have followed and continues to this day. In my own case, I had one eye with distorted vision. When I looked upon a straight line or board with my one eye it would look crooked to me with a jagged line in the center but after prayer one day in church that went away. Still need glasses but at my age I am truly thankful for the blessing of better eyesight.

Then another brother who had continual pain in his shoulder for 5 years was healed and it has opened to door to many others with shoulder trouble and severe pain to be healed. The testimonies are still coming in on that one. Then there was another with knee problems with similar results and breakthroughs.

Another Graceline opened when a pastor’s wife testified that she had lost a necklace that was really dear to her and prayed for its return for several days. Then one morning it just appeared around her neck. I know that is a strange one for many and I have no theological explanation for it  (nor do I want too) but it has opened a door for others to pray for lost things with amazing results. Many have received dreams or visions of the location of what they had lost after prayer.

On one occasion I could not find my keys after looking everywhere I could think of for 30 minutes or so. Finally time was up and I really needed to get going to work. Usually at that point in the equation I would have been fuming and yelling at my dear wife and blaming her for moving them but then I remembered a couple of the Graceline testimonies and turned to prayer instead and immediately had a picture of myself working in the garage the evening before and found my keys right where I left them on the work table. All this may sound trivial to some but believe me my wife is even more thankful for this blessing than I am.

Then there was a couple early last year who are worship leaders/musicians who testified that they had prayed for money to pay their rent and while driving down I5 Freeway money rained down on their windshield and when they pulled over and picked it up they found that it was just enough to pay the rent with $10 left over which they gave to a homeless person the next day. Then after that another lady testified that when she went to buy a car, the vehicle she really needed was several thousand more than she knew she really had but the Lord told her to buy it anyway and when she handed over the cash she had in an envelope it somehow had multiplied and was exactly enough to complete the sale. This not only opened a door but a deluge has followed with new testimonies nearly every week.

We have started to call these- ‘mail box miracles’ since so many of the testimonies that followed have revolved around folks receiving needed prayed for unexpected money in the mail. In these dire economic times, many in our church are living from week to week trusting in God like never before to bring what is needed to support their families. One week I was a couple hundred dollars short of the expense money I needed for an out of town business trip. I had prayed for help in that area but still was completely surprised when I received a $200 check in the mail from a Christian contractor I had used for referring him to a neighbor across the street for a job. Amazing.

We have a lot of business owners in our congregation and these have been particularly tough times for small businesses but God has been faithful through it all. I will save that for another post. But another door which has been particularly significant is the ‘job’ Graceline. So many of our folks had lost jobs in this economy or lost business that we started to actually take time on Sunday morning to pray for those who needed new jobs or business with remarkable results. While the jobless rate in our county is still above 10% nearly everyone in our congregation is now working and paying their bills.

Bottom line- this is not revival but it is better than we have ever seen before and I have already posted about the even more remarkable things happening in our outreach ministries. But there is nothing happening here that isn’t happening or can’t happen elsewhere. It is just now happening more often. It is a matter of our faith and expectations being dialed up and increased exponentially in certain areas in response to the testimonies and experiences of other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our understanding of ‘Gracelines’ is that when you take the time to acknowledge and rejoice in what God is doing he seems to open up the door to The Kingdom breaking through even more in the same areas. We have also found that including testimonies in our regular Sunday services has encouraged our people to live by faith and include God in their everyday living. Blessings have followed, miracles and healings have increased, Gracelines have continued, and our faith, expectations, and thankfulness have gone to another level.              *Top

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-Man with Terminal Cancer Healed

Here’s the account of a man diagnosed with terminal cancer that did not give up but he and his wife kept on praying for a miracle and finally received a documented healing. From the Blaze:

“Even though I know my Lord so intimately and have a deep relationship with him, I really shook in my boots,” Rosey Brausen said, explaining how difficult it was to continue praying when doctors were asking how her husband was going to spend his last days.

She said that God warned the couple that they were “in for a battle,” and so they hunkered down, refusing to give up hope that healing could be a possibility; rather than give up, they began taking a number of steps in an effort to steadfastly hope — and pray — for the best.

“Getting a prayer team around us, saying scripture out loud over us … and then keeping my eyes focused on [God],” Rosey said of their actions, which also included treatments and the removal of a lung.

Many times, she said that Christians treat God like a Santa Claus of sorts, imploring him to “give us what we’re praying for,” but not realizing that it can sometimes be a long battle — and that he won’t always answer every prayer.

In the end, Rosey said that she had to learn true and profound trust in the Almighty as she journeyed through her husband’s illness.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This account is important since the story has broken through and has been noticed in the regular American media. I have known a number of folks in the last few years who have gone through similar healings but usually the MSM ignores them even if there is documented evidence.

Healings and miracles seem to be on the increase among Christians in America. Finally the press is beginning to write about them (See the previous article about the Pope blessing a family).

We are hoping and praying for revival and a new spiritual awakening in this nation. Signs and wonders, miracles and healings always seem to have a part of any move of God. In the past, the American media has documented those revivals and awakenings. Even in the 50’s the LA Times publicized a new evangelist- Billy Graham and featured accounts of his meetings on their front page and played an invaluable part in his rise to fame. Today that more than likely would not happen. Up to this point the national media has been ignoring any evidence of supernatural healing among Christians. Keep on praying!              *Top

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-A Triple Miracle?

A Papal miracle? Actually a triple miracle. A young couple who were told they could not have children had triplets following a blessing by Pope Francis last year. Here’s the story from The Blaze:

A married couple who were reportedly told that they only had a 1 or 2 percent chance of conceiving a baby believe that they experienced a miracle that defied “all medical odds” after receiving a blessing from Pope Francis in Rome last year.  …

“I just felt so full of joy when we were in his presence,” Liz Tremblay told the outlet.

But it wasn’t just a feel-good moment, as the couple claim that they subsequently found out that they were pregnant — and expecting triplets. They welcomed Andrew, Elliot and Nicholas into the world on August 20

<Read the whole article>

Response: I believe that God can work miracles and healings through the prayers and blessings of any Christian including the Pope.  I have no doubts that God blessed this couple.

Lately, I have seen an increase in healings and miracles among Christians all around the world. We seem to lag behind the rest of the world in Western countries when it comes to miracles but I believe that will be changing soon. The fact that this one comes from a blessing from the Pope helps to publicize the reality of the supernatural in the increasingly secular Western culture.

I have personally experienced a number of miracles in my own life. The following is just One:

When I was 19 years old I severely damaged my knee playing a game of pickup football. The doctors said I would need a operation to correct the damage and would be on crutches for several months. It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year in college and I really needed to work to pay for my next year in school.

My knee was the size of a huge grapefruit and I could not walk and could hardly stand the pain when my dad called for the church elders to come and pray for me. The two elders who came had just attended a healing workshop taught by Kathryn Kuhlman.

After they prayed the swelling and pain was gone and I could walk with no problem. I went to work for nine hours on my feet and worked all Summer. Never did get an operation, praise God.

God still heals folks. This is one of the reasons that I assert that Christianity is the greatest scientific experiment of all time. Lives were changed for the better and miracles and healings happened when Jesus lived and ministered on the earth 2,000 years ago and this is still being duplicated today among his followers around the world.             *Top

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-‘Answered Prayers’ on TV

God still answers prayers. To prove the point, Roman Downey is involved with hosting and producing a new TV series on TLC called ‘Answered Prayers.’ Here’s the story from the  Christian Post:

Roma Downey’s riveting new six-part series “Answered Prayers,” which features real-life stories of people in potentially life-threatening situations who experience divine intervention, says she’s “thankful” and “humbled” by fans’ support for the show.

“We are humbled by the support of so many national prayer leaders, and thankful for how this show is inspiring so many to pray again,” said Downey about the series which has now moved to primetime at 8 p.m. ET Sundays on the TLC network.

As one of the show’s executive producers, Downey hosts each one-hour episode that incorporates actual footage and interviews paired with powerful reenactments.

<Read the whole article>

Response: A few years ago, Roma and her husband were able to convince TV executives to air their Bible series and that was a real demonstration of answered prayer. The success of that series has now led to this new one on TLC that shows God still working miracles and saving people today. A great uplifting series for family viewing. 

This is also a message that our secular culture really needs to hear and be exposed to. I am hoping that the series will pave the way for us to share our own answered prayers and miracles with our friends, neighbors, and family.               *Top

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