Thursday, March 30, 2017

An Ocean of Secrets


"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." - James 5:16

I was watching the movie Titanic recently, one of my favorites.  The main character, Rose, tells the story of her romance with Jack, which ends when he dies in the Titanic sinking.  Nearing the end of her life, Rose confesses to her granddaughter this secret love she had before meeting her husband later in life.  In this moment of confession, she says to her granddaughter and the others listening to the story, "A woman's heart is an ocean of secrets."

This was such a interesting statement, and my first reaction was to think, "Not just a woman's.  We all have an ocean of secrets."  And while the movie portrayed her secrets as part of her adventurous, romantic mystique, most secrets create a bondage in our lives.  People keep secrets because they are ashamed, and don't want others to know about the sin committed, lie told, or law broken.  We have an image to uphold in front of others, and we are afraid of what people may think about us if they were to know about these secrets. 

Fortunately, God knows everything about us - what we have done and what we will do - and loves us as sons and daughters.  He sent Jesus to forgive us from our sins, and if we will receive it, we are washed clean from our ocean of secrets.  I know I am comforted knowing that He is aware of everything I've done and will do, and loves me all the same.

But sometimes that's not enough to heal us from our ocean of secrets.  As we see in James 5:16, God tells us to "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."  Confession releases power in your inner healing, as God honors the Body of Christ as a conduit for his work in each member of the Body.  In other words, we were not meant to "go it alone." 

One person who learned this powerful truth was Agnes Sanford, a founding member of the Charismatic Movement in the mid 1900s.  Agnes had a powerful healing ministry, and her first book, The Healing Light, was a best-seller.  But she found herself drained of her power as she gave more and more of herself in prayer for others, and from traveling around the country speaking.  One day she asked God how her strength could be restored, and He revealed to her that confession was the answer.  As one of her friends told her, "The confessional sets free in you the power of God through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. It releases power in the way that is the most simple and wholesome and human."

So Agnes, coming from a church background that did not practice confessionals, split her life into seven periods of time.  She asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to her any unforgiven sins, hurts, or other memories from each of those seven time periods, writing them all down.  Finally, she shared everything from her list with a priest from another church, who prayed with her for her forgiveness.  The priest said, "Although so few people know it, the church through Jesus Christ really does have the power to forgive sins."

Sure enough, Agnes said she "had hardly gone out of the place before I was flooded from head to foot with the most overwhelming vibrations...and indeed a healing process did begin in me at that time."  She was able to continue her ministry with vibrancy and power after learning to take advantage of confession.

My home church, Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, aligns to this approach and includes a confessional time in its "Kairos" freedom program.  I participated in this myself, and agree with Agnes that there's something powerful about telling another person about a sin you have never told anyone about, that's been kept buried inside.  It was very liberating.

If your "ocean of secrets" is keeping you from being the whole person God intended you to be, I would encourage you to explore a confession of those secrets to a member of the Body of Christ - a priest, pastor, or other Christian brother or sister.  And watch Jesus work in His promise to heal you and set you free.

-Adam Gellert
adamgellert.com


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Wait


"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

When I was told ten months ago that my position was being eliminated at the company where I had worked for over ten years, I wasn't too worried. I was confident in the experience I had built over a 17-year career, and knew the economy was strong in my area.  God had warned me about the change by telling me He would give me "strength for the days ahead," and that He would "close my wound with new skin quickly" (Isaiah 58:8).  The company offered me a lower level role, but I turned it down, confident in God's word for me and excited to see what God had in store for my next adventure.

Little did I realize the challenge I was going to face in finding employment, and had I known the long and difficult road that lay in front of me, I might have made a different decision.  Most of the time I've felt the strength promised by God, but I've also had periods of anger, confusion, and doubt.  I don't understand why God's timing has to include a wait of several months for the next part of my journey to begin.  I've enjoyed the time off from a busy work environment to spend more time with family and friends, and in quiet time with God.  But we were made to work, to have a purpose. So why do I have to keep waiting?

In the midst of this struggle, I was going through some old files on my computer, and I found the following poem that I had saved from 1999.  I don't know why I was attracted to the poem at that time - I graduated from school that year and landed a job right away, and was engaged to be married, so I didn't have a reason to be drawn to it.  But now, in this season, it is perfect. Looking back, it seems as though God called me to this poem as a prophetic look into a future time when I would need it, and then prompted me to search through these files at just the right time.  He is amazing!

I hope this poem, written by an unknown author, encourages you during a season of waiting.  That may be now, or could be many years from now, so save it for whenever you may need it.  It shows us that waiting may, in the long run, will be the greatest gift we could receive in this season, and we'll look back later and be thankful for God's perfect timing as our life's plan unfolds.

WAIT

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
and the Master who gently said, "Child, you must wait."

"Wait? You say, wait!," my indignant reply,
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I can relate
hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

And Lord, You promised that if we believe,
we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!"

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
and grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting....for what?"

He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want - but you wouldn't know Me."

"You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
when darkness and silence were all you could see.

You'd never experience that fullness of love
as the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove.
You'd know that I live and I save....(for a start),
but you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night.
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.

The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.
You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that "My grace is sufficient for thee."

Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true.
But, oh, the loss! If I lost what I'm doing in you!

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late,
my most precious answer of all is still, "WAIT."


May God give you strength and peace in your seasons of waiting, as well as a closer walk with Him!

- Adam Gellert