One morning a while back I mentally saw a bunch of stakes in the ground with vegetation growing around them. I thought, why in the world am I seeing this? In my practice of learning to listen to God I asked Him, what do you want me to see? Looking closer I realized the stakes were crosses and the vines were clinging tightly growing up around each cross. The stakes were very orderly and had beautiful lush vines. I believe I was looking at the Benjamin Generation. The present day Christians who are clinging to the cross, who are well fed, well nurtured, who will continue to climb and be fruitful, who are not afraid of the order of the Word, but ever reaching, growing, extending and reaching for more with fruit that will help all.
September 15, 2015
Christians should be the happiest people on the planet! Think about it—Jesus prayed, “I come to You [Father]; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves” (John 17:13). Jesus wants us to be full of His joy! Hebrews 1:9 says that Jesus was anointed with joy beyond His companions. This means He was happier than the people He hung out with. Now that’s a lot of joy!
To make us even happier, God sent His Holy Spirit into our lives to comfort us. It is amazing that He wants us to be comfortable. But wait, it gets even better. The Bible says that the fruit or evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in us is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control . . .” (Galatians 5:22–23). There is that joy word again. We have both the joy of Jesus and the joy of the Holy Spirit. Did you get that? We have been given a double anointing for joy!
JOY IS A FOREIGN EMOTION
Now if that does not get you excited, then how about this: “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Wow, one third of the Kingdom is joy! The apostle Peter said that we should “greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). But joy is a foreign emotion for many Christians because religious spirits have deviously crept into their souls and have stolen the abundant life that Jesus purchased for them.
THE POWER OF LAUGHTER
What cannot be expressed in words is often manifested in laughter. It is just really hard to be extremely joyful and not laugh! People have always known that laughter—good, honest belly laughter, of course; not the mocking kind—makes you feel better. Solomon said it thousands of years ago: “A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). However, modern medicine has only been seriously studying the specific benefits of laughter for about thirty years.
Norman Cousins is most often credited for putting the healing power of laughter on the map scientifically. Cousins was a political journalist and activist who, after a grueling trip to Russia, developed ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis in the spine. Nearly immobilized by pain, he was informed by his doctor that only one person in five hundred ever recovered from this condition. At this, Cousins decided to take matters into his own hands. With the help of one of his doctors, he devised an unorthodox treatment plan. He moved out of the hospital into a hotel room, quit taking pain medication, started taking high doses of vitamin C and spent hours watching old Marx Brothers movies and Candid Camera spoofs in order to inspire laughter.
“It worked,” recorded Cousins in his book Anatomy of an Illness. “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep.” After only a few weeks of this “treatment,” Cousins’s pain had diminished enough to allow him to return to work, and he went on to make a full recovery.
Scientists now have several theories about why laughter relieves pain. They think that it releases endorphins, relaxes our muscles or perhaps simply distracts us. They all agree, however, that Norman Cousins was not a special case. Laughter is definitely a painkiller! They have also been discovering that laughter does a whole host of other good things for our bodies, minds, emotions and relationships.
The physical act of laughter helps our bodies in three basic ways. First, it essentially does the same thing as a workout—it gets our lungs breathing more deeply, our hearts pumping faster and many of our muscles engaged, thereby improving our circulation and blood pressure. Second, it relaxes our bodies and stops our brains from producing stress hormones that suppress our immune systems, wear us down and make us vulnerable to disease. In 2005, doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center declared that laughter is some of the “best medicine” for protecting us from America’s leading cause of death, heart disease, because it prevents stress from deteriorating the lining of our blood vessels. Third, laughter activates our immune systems. Studies have shown that laughter increases our natural defenses against cancer, viruses and upper-respiratory problems.
Laughter and humor are also vital tools for creating and sustaining mental and emotional health, which, of course, directly affects our physical health. The many stresses we experience produce negative emotions like fear, grief and anger. Unless those are processed through cathartic releases like laughing, crying or yelling, they make us toxic in body and mind. The increasing number of mental health professionals in the “laughter therapy” movement argue that just as laughter on the physical level not only stops harmful stress hormones, it also stimulates helpful disease-fighting agents. On the emotional and mental levels, laughter not only diffuses negative thoughts and emotions; it also produces positive emotions like hope and elation and allows us to create new, more optimistic perspectives on our circumstances.
LAUGH YOUR WAY TO WHOLENESS
Long before I read anything on what scientists were learning in their experiments with laughter, God was already causing His people to laugh their way into wholeness. While many sneered and mocked, millions of people were becoming whole. I guess Solomon had it right thousands of years ago when he wrote, “A merry heart doeth good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22, kjv). Maybe it is time for the Church of the living God to become a pharmacy!
Have you experience the healing power of laughter? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Excerpt from the book “Spirit Wars.”
Kris Vallotton (http://krisvallotton.com/How-to-Be-the-Happiest-Person-on-the-Planet/)
 Norman Cousins, Anatomy of an Illness,(New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1979), 43.
 Michelle W. Murray, “Laughter Is the ‘Best Medicine’ For Your Heart,” July 14, 2009, UMM.edu, (http://www.umm.edu/features/laughter.htm), accessed September 15, 2010.
 Marshall Brain, “How Laughter Works,” April 01, 2000, HowStuffWorks.com, (http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/human-nature/other-emotions/laughter.htm), accessed September 15, 2010.
I woke up this morning thinking about all of our children and young people going back to school. Some are tiny and going for the first time to a class full of other tiny people and the unknown. Some are young adults walking into huge college classrooms filled with strange faces and the unknown.
God showed me a river that made me think of Colorado. This river had small rocks, large boulders and running water shallow enough to wade from one side to the other, and places that could only be crossed by stepping into the cold water.
A small child would bounce excitedly from one small stone to another and the older ones would find a good dry hold on a boulder and work their way to the top; every child in his or her own way making their way across the grand adventure river. All needing to understand that the rocks are God’s stepping stones and the river is full of choices; no particular stone required to reach their destiny. His desire is only for their happiness, and wading through a little cold water sometimes is just another lesson in life.
On the shore was every size tree casting a shade or letting in the sun over the pilgrims. Some praying for safety, some praying for direction, some speaking spiritual growth, some clapping their hands in glee. All of the trees were caring family and friends wanting only the best for the young travelers.
I’m pretty sure I kept seeing this Tigger character bouncing along (Holy Spirit!) beside them in every step telling them the next move, the best way, the driest path, encouraging, poking them with His elbow, laughing and telling them to have fun. Just have fun as they learn and trust in a God bigger than all of them, bigger than the world they are preparing to explore.
After I wrote this I thought, hmm, God that was sweet. I was putting on my own shoes for the day ahead and He showed me one more thing: An enormous group of people gone on, living in the Heavenly Realm, that great cloud of witnesses looking down on all ages clapping their hands with glee at every blessing, every joy, every spiritual growth, seeing us walk by faith, seeing a sudden dawning of reality when one of us understands our authority in Christ, our understanding God’s Love, building and creating and learning to make our way across rivers, climbing over rocks, jumping stones, learning to laugh and trust God completely when we step into the waters, thrilled to see us living out the Word of God.
Anytime I have those nagging doubts that I’ve missed the boat in that special call God has on my life, I go to my favorite Bible story. I read it as a promise to me because God spoke to my heart years ago through these scriptures. I often read the Word in translations other than King James, but this one calls for the more powerful words that happen to be in the KJV. You’ll see why:
7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart .8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God. 9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s forever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God. 10 And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. (That’s 85 years old, People!!) 11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. 12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said.
7 I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, 8 but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. 9 So that day Moses solemnly promised me, ‘The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed theLord my God.’ 10 “Now, as you can see, the Lord has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. 11 I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. 12 So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.”
When my body feels weary, or I feel like age is creeping up on me stealing my dreams, I am reminded of God’s Promise to me. I have victory over the enemies lies: “as my strength was then, at the age of 40, even so is my strength now, for war! both to go out! and to come in!
12 Now give me that mountain!!!
WooHoo!! It isn’t age alone that satan uses against us. Many are doubtful of their original calling because years have passed since they “thought” this was the direction God wanted them to go. Life has been busy, you might feel like it has changed your goals, but you must trust in God’s timing. Maybe He wanted you to raise those awesome children before you started your ministry, or maybe there were SO many life lessons that would end up pouring wisdom into you for your service for Him.
Don’t believe the lies of satan, but instead stand and having done all stand believing that You Have Much More to do in the Service of the Lord!
Prophetic Word From Dr. Brian Simmons
I heard Him whisper…
“Never abandon your desire for holiness. Your failures cannot remove you from My heart and your weakness will only attract My grace. Come to Me when you fail and watch My smile of compassion wash over your soul. Faith will be strengthened within you when you throw off the voice of accusation and rest in My Calvary-love.
Seek My grace in your defeat and victory will be yours. Nothing can separate you from My eternal love. Many times you have rejected yourself, but I have not. Faith in My love will slay your discouragement and remove the weapons from the hands of your enemies. Hope will give birth to joy, even when you do not see My glory.
It is time for a song of endless joy to fill your lips. Sing the song of triumph when you face defeat. Laugh at the enemy and you will witness My victory break forth, for I hold it in store for the upright and for those who love Me. Sin will never have dominion over you, but I will.
My strength will overcome your weakest flaw until every part of you is filled with the energy of grace. Never let go of your passion to be holy in My eyes, for I will purify you with this Living Hope and you will see the transformation take place in My glory. Burn holy in My presence until faith radiates from your inner being. Come into the transforming glory and expect Me to move on your behalf. Grace, grace will be your song, and Faith, faith will be your portion.”
Psalm 46:1 TPT
“God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to hide! You’re a proven help in time of trouble; more than enough and always available whenever I need You.”
I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.
– Psalm 9:1-3
Never underestimate the importance of praise. It’s one of the most powerful spiritual weapons you have.
Praise is more than a pleasant song or a few uplifting words about God. It does something. It releases the very presence of God Himself. And, when the presence of God comes on the scene, your enemies are turned back. Sickness and disease can’t stay on your body. Poverty can’t stay in your house.
Even physical weariness has to flee when it’s faced with real joy-filled praise. I know that from experience. Years ago, when I first began conducting “Healing School,” I had a real battle with fatigue. I’d minister and lay my hands on the sick for so many hours at a time that by the time the meeting had ended, I was sometimes too physically weak even to close the service.
Then, in one particular meeting, I discovered the power of praise. I had just finished praying for those in the prayer line and, as usual, I was exhausted. But instead of rest, the Spirit of the Lord impressed on me that what I needed was to rejoice in the Lord. So, I did. I began to praise the Lord with my whole heart, mind and body. Do you know what happened? The tiredness left me. And I was energized with the presence of God!
The next time the devil tries to stifle your effectiveness, to drain you of the strength and wealth and victory that’s yours in Jesus, turn him back with that powerful weapon. Lift your hands and your voice and whole heart to God. Praise!
A good chapter to read after Gloria Copeland’s words is 2 Chronicles 20 and please take note in verse 13, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon a man in the crowd”! and he says, “Listen people! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says…..!” Whew, I love this story!
21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:
“Give thanks to the Lord;
his faithful love endures forever!”
22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. 24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. – Ephesians 4:13
If you know how to listen to the voice of God, you can hear Him calling throughout the Body of Christ today. He is calling for unity. He is calling us to lay down our disagreements and come together in preparation for Jesus’ return.
Just the thought of that scares some believers. “How can I unify with someone from another denomination?” they say. “I’m not going to give up my doctrines and agree with theirs just for unity’s sake!”
What they don’t realize is this: scriptural unity isn’t based on doctrine.
Winds of doctrine, according to Ephesians 4:14, are childish. Winds of doctrine don’t unify. They divide and blow people in every direction. The Word doesn’t say anything about us coming into the unity of our doctrines. It says we’ll come into the unity of the faith.
In the past, we’ve failed to understand that and tried to demand doctrinal unity from each other anyway. “If you don’t agree with me on the issue of tongues,” we’ve said, “or on the timing of the Rapture…or on the proper depth for baptismal waters, I won’t accept you as a brother in the Lord. I’ll break fellowship with you.”
But that’s not God’s way of doing things. He doesn’t have a long list of doctrinal demands for us to meet. His requirements are simple. First John 3:23 tells us what they are: to believe on the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another.
Once you and I come to a place where we keep those requirements and quit worrying about the rest, we’ll be able to forget our denominational squabbles and come together in the unity of faith. We’ll grow so strong together that the winds of doctrine won’t be able to drive us apart.
When that happens, the devil’s going to panic because the unity of the faith of God’s people is a staggering thing. It’s the most unlimited, powerful thing on earth. Right now all over the world, the Spirit is calling the Church of the living God to unite. Hear Him and obey, and you can be a part of one of the most magnificent moves of God this world has ever seen. ~ Kenneth Copeland
Prophetic Word From Dr. Brian Simmons
“I Hear His Whisper… “Courage, My child.”
“This is a day of following in the footsteps of your Lord. A day of forsaking the false and embracing the truth. Dark shadows must be left for the brilliant light of a new day. I am calling you child to take Me as your Guide. Stay at My side and I will walk you through the obstacles that lie ahead. I am your Savior and I will rescue you from harm. Courage, My child.
“The days will bring you many joys and yet many challenges. I will speak to the earth and it will open up its treasures to you. I will speak to the heavens and they will open their treasures to you.
“You will advance in a pace that will seem too fast, yet it is the wind of My Spirit that will take you along. You will be courageous, for I am with you and you will rejoice in a day of battle, for I am Endless Strength for you.
“Many are distracted and gazing on the trinkets of life. Your eyes must be fixed on the prize, the Great Reward of knowing that I am enough. You will take My right hand and be My overcomer and nothing will be able to disturb you when I am near.
You will not taste defeat, but you will rise on wings of eagles and soar over the mountains that seem to intimidate you. I am the Everlasting Father, the Fountain of Peace. So be strong in My strength, convinced of My love and you will not stumble. Courage, My child.”
Psalm 28:7-9 The Passion Translation
You are my Strength and my Shield from every danger.
When I fully trust in you, help is on the way.
I jump for joy and burst forth with ecstatic, passionate praise!
I will sing songs of what you mean to me!
⁸You will be the inner strength of all your people,
The Mighty Protector of all;
The saving strength for all your anointed ones.
⁹Keep protecting and cherishing your chosen ones;
In you they will never fall.
Like a Shepherd going before us, keep leading us forward,
Forever carrying us in your arms!”
“So let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands…” Psalm 149:5
In many of our churches today, we seem to have lost or misplaced the purpose and the power of worship in the life of the believer. Worship has sadly been reduced from controlling the thoughts, desires, and actions of the believer to singing a couple of songs each week during our weekly services. The power of worship isn’t rated anymore by the amount of God’s presence among His people, but rather how well we liked the songs, the band, or the message. The purpose of worship has shifted from being something that was created specifically for God and His glory to now, something that revolves around the wants and desires of the created instead of the Creator. The scariest part is that we are becoming satisfied with this type of man-made/misguided worship that reflects more of our shortcomings and weaknesses than the infinite splendor, the overwhelming greatness, the unrivaled power, and the unapproachable holiness of our God.
Worship was designed primarily for the glory of God.
Its purpose is to be a reflection of HIM to the whole of creation. That is why we exist, to accomplish this purpose. We are merely agents of worship (Romans 12:1). Worship was also created so that we could see and encounter more of God (Psalm 34:5). It was created so that we could experience more of His power and grace at work in our lives, therefore reflecting Him and His nature to the world. Worship centered on Christ should be strong and assertive, not weak and confused. It should be active and aggressive, not flippant and passive. We should see victories as we worship, and not defeats. We should see joy and not sorrow. We should see hope and not despair. True Christ-centered worship should produce life (salvation, restoration), healing (physical and/or spiritual), a strengthened faith, and a unified and unstoppable church because Jesus is at the center and not us. There is so much more to worship than we are experiencing today because we have unintentionally reduced it to just singing some songs and until we unlock the true meaning and power of worship, we will remain unsatisfied and unfulfilled.
Worship is not just singing songs. Worship is war!
Anytime we openly declare our love, adoration, and allegiance to God, we are raising a battle cry in defiance to His enemy. His enemy is Satan and his purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy the worship of God from His people (John 10:10) and disrupt His will in their lives at any cost. The greatest weapon we have to fight this battle is worship not because we are doing the fighting, but because it is God who fights for us! Jehoshaphat witnessed this first hand when he placed his musicians before his army as they marched into battle (2 Chron. 20) as the Lord had instructed him to do. As the musicians lead in worship, God destroyed the enemies. Wow! This story will never get old for me. God was making a statement here. If we trust him and find our delight in Him, He will fight our battles (2 Chron. 20:17). Just think that as we engage in worship, the Holy Spirit is engaging in warfare on our behalf.
You see it is not up to us to slay the giants, move the mountains, or part the waters. It is not up to us to fight our battles alone and defeat the enemy single-handed. All we are called to do as believers is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27) and put none other before Him (Ex. 20:3). When we do this, He promises that He will be with us (Joshua 1:9) and never leave or forsake us (Joshua 1:5) and He will fight our battles for us, Whether it is doubt or sickness; Whether it is fear or failure; Whether it is complacency or persecution; Pride or poverty; Rejection or insecurity, God wants to show us His power, His grace, His faithfulness, and His love throughout every season we face. He wants to give us abundant life (John 10:10) and victories in the midst of our battles (Romans 8:28) for the praise of His glorious name (Psalm 115:1). Praise God we don’t have to worry about how because that is His job. All we have to do is fix our eyes, our hearts, our minds, and our souls on Him and watch Him defeat our enemies and break down the strongholds in our lives as we worship. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8
I believe that when we truly turn our eyes from the temporary, fleeting things that Satan uses to distract us and give to God our undivided and unhindered worship; we will see Him do things in our lives, in our church, and in our community that we could have never imagined or dreamed of. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20
I heard an amazing testimony the other day at the Fullness Conference I attended at Antioch Church Norman. A lovely young lady came forward and began to share one of the most tragic life stories I remember hearing. You must understand I cannot tell you verbatim what she said, nor would I get the history exactly correct. Her name is Sarah.
This I can do though, I can tell you that after having their baby boy Sarah’s young husband, Joel, passed away with cancer. Joel had told her God said they would have a baby girl so Sarah determined she would follow through with his dream through the same process they had their first baby, In vitro fertilization.
Ellis Claire was born and after 2 weeks Ellis began to have seizures. Momma Sarah was told Ellis would not breathe on her own, the swelling on her brain would cause severe brain damage, and doctors let Sarah know Ellis probably wouldn’t make it. This is an excerpt from Sarah’s Blog:
I cannot tell you what a difficult thing it is to beg God for the life of your child. It was just recently I was begging God for the life of my husband. Still, that was different. My husband and I had a decade of history together, pictures, videos, memories and the life we’d built. I was begging the Lord to let us have the life that I knew continue. With Ellis, I just met her. I long to know more. I want to know if she will have curls in her hair and the color of her eyes. I want to hear her say the word Mama. I want to know what kind of baby food she’ll dislike. I want to know at what age she will roll over. I want to see her and her brother interact. I want to hear her laugh. We had 2 weeks of normal before everything came crashing down. Thinking that I might never get to experience those things with her is almost too much to bear. At night, as I lay my head on my pillow on the hospital futon, the tears flow freely. And about the only prayer my heart can sometimes muster is “please God. Please.”
We stand together in unity to declare that beloved Ellis will live life to the fullness of what she was created for. Her brain will be completely restored, functioning at 100%. Every seizure will cease as healing is being accelerated over her life. She will live to declare Jehovah is God, and her life will be a light and testimony to the nations. We declare, that darkness is as light to you, God. We call forth light into the dark places and believe that what the enemy intends for evil, God is using for good. We break the power of every stronghold and argument over her life that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We declare that no weapon formed against her will prosper. We declare that her spirit will rise up and lead her soul and her body. Ellis Claire Rodriguez, arise, shine, His glory is upon you.
Now for my version of the Most Awesome testimony: Ellis began to breathe on her own, her brain swelling decreased and brain function became normal. NORMAL! As time has passed Ellis has started meeting normal baby milestones.
The testimony took my breath away when Sarah said they had just met with four different doctors and they are all saying Ellis is a living miracle, with one doctor stating “Ellis is laughing in the face of medicine”! Again, there is no way I can give you details, but please someday go to JourneyofSarah.com and be blown away with me of this young ladies marvelous outlook on life, praising God through tragedies I cannot comprehend, and standing tall in the cruel storm the enemy blew her way. Her life perceptions are beyond her years and will definitely lift your spirit. journeyofsarah.com