Receiving Healing and Help from God — Mustard Seed Faith for the Struggling Writer

Luke 9:37-42, Mark 9:14-28, Matthew 17:14-20

Receiving Healing and Help from God — Mustard Seed Faith

Answers to our prayers bring conflict, division and opposition. “When Jesus came to the other disciples, he saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them (the other nine disciples).” Our attempts to believe in the power of Jesus will always lead to conflict, division, and opposition. Nine other disciples had tried to heal one boy. They had failed. Earlier these nine, plus Peter, James, and John, had gone out in pairs and healed all they met. They had driven out demons. Now their failure to help one boy threatened the reputation of Jesus. If his disciples proved to be frauds, then the Scribes’ argument that Jesus was a false teacher would carry greater weight.

Answers to our prayers includes humility. “A man came and knelt before Jesus.” In contrast to the nine disciples and the Scribes, the father moved passed arguments and acknowledged that he needed Jesus’ help. Casting blame hinders our ability to draw close to Jesus. Forgive, be reconciled, and draw near to him.

Answers to our prayers include repentance for both us and others. The father said, “Lord, have mercy on my son.” James declares that the prayers of righteous individuals are powerful (James 5:16). Even though none of us are righteous on our own, through the blood of Christ we are made righteous. Before we make our requests to God, repent, confess our sins, and in humility come before God with our prayers lists of petitions.

Answers to our prayers include clear and detailed descriptions of the affliction or situation. “My boy has seizures and suffers greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. He is possessed by a spirit that robs him of speech. Whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him into convulsions and onto the ground. He foams at the mouth. He gnashes his teeth. He becomes rigid. He suddenly screams. This spirit scarcely ever leaves him. This spirit is destroying him.” Effective prayer includes specifics. Not because Jesus needs to know, but because we need to be able to testify later of all that he did. In listing details of the affliction we give weight to the power of Jesus’ healing and help. But we should be careful not to glorify the affliction or situation. Do not claim it as yours by saying, “My ____ (disease, problem).”  The affliction or situation is not ours. It’s of the devil. He came to steal, kill, and destroy and Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

Answers to our prayers often include a recap of past attempts at healing and help. “I brought my boy to _____ but they could not heal (help).” Before Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood, we learn that she had spent all she had on doctors but none could help her. In fact, she grew worse. The contrast of failed attempts at healing and help reveals our need for God in all situations. We should be careful, however, not to blame on those who tried to help us and failed. Blame and shaming can block the flow of healing and help from God.

In our next lesson on healing and help we will look at the importance of pure faith.

A Powerful Antidote for the Depressed Writer

Find Your Calling in Christ

Find Your Calling in ChristIndecision opens the door for a spirit of depression. When we are unsure of our purpose, place in life, and destination, we will often flail about like sails on a ship “caught in irons.”

A sailboat “caught in irons” finds itself with the bow pointed “dead” into the wind, stalled, and unable to maneuver. The wind’s energy flows over and around the vessel, but the vessel remains trapped between crests of waves and swells. The ship’s rudder does not respond to the commands from the helm, leaving the vessel and crew at the mercy of the sea and in danger of capsizing.

The Apostle Paul speaks of those, “Tossed back and forth by the waves. Blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14)

Paul’s is a message of remaining confident of the words of God and Christ, but his instruction is also beneficial for each of us seeking to understand our purpose, place among the crew, and destination.

Jeremiah 29:11 is a familiar passage that is often misapplied, but many of the promises of God found elsewhere in scripture are summed up in this verse.

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.
When faced with indecision we can take comfort in knowing that God has a plan. And not one plan, but several. Like the skipper of a sailboat, we have command of the rudder and sails. Once we know God’s immediate plan for us, we can plot our course and hold our heading based on the magnetic line of his moral compass. In this way we break free of the “irons” and sail on with confidence.

“I have plans to prosper you,” declares the Lord.
We must be careful not to claim this verse as a promise of immediate and forever prosperity. It is not. But Christ did promise that if we are in him and he is in us, we will enjoy life and enjoy it to the full. Much of what the world calls prosperity is a prison. Excessive wealth leads to endless worries. How to keep it? Who seeks to steal it? When to spend it? A sound, well-built vessel that is properly outfitted and provisioned needs nothing but crew to guide her. This is the type of abundant life those in Christ can have.

A life in Christ is a life of adventure, new horizons, new relationships, joy in giving, joy in receiving, peace during storms, patience in times of trials and gales. When we are in Christ, at all times, regardless of our circumstances, we can prosper if we will heed the heading he gives.

“I will not harm you,” declares the Lord.
God is good. That is his character. And God never changes. Though he will chastise us, it is always to get our attention, to call us to repent, and turn back to him. Other times, when a person’s heart becomes so hardened that they refuse to repent, he will use that individual as an example of what becomes of the rebellious and obstinate.

God desires that, “All people be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) Never let this thought linger in your mind: “God hates me. That’s why this happened. He caused this sickness, this disaster, this _____.” Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Christ came to give life, hope, and a future.

“I plan to give you hope and a future,” declares the Lord.
When God confronted Moses at the Burning Bush, he asked, “What is in your hand?” Oftentimes the thing in our hand is part of God’s plan. Not always, but most times. Though the staff (a big stick) was a part of God’s plan for Moses, his days of herding sheep were over. Now Moses would herd people. He would become the leader of a new nation. He would see God perform miracles of healing. He would see God inflict death and punishment on his enemies.

The thing in his hand was but a small part of God’s plan for Moses. Never underestimate what God can do with the skills, experience, and education you have. Also never be afraid to step forward into a new work for which you have no skills, no experience, and no education. In God’s timing under his guidance, he has, can, and will raise up servants who will do great things through him.

Unsure of your purpose, place in life, and destination? Run up the white flag. Surrender yourself to Christ. Climb into his vessel. Let his Holy Spirit fill you. With him in you and you in him you will do great works.

In fact, you will do greater works than he. (John 14:12) And Christ performed miracles, healed all the sick who came to him, raised the dead, spoke life into inanimate objects (bread, wine), walked on water and would later walk through walls. If you wish to do even greater things than these, get into Christ.


A Powerful Antidote for the Depressed Writer

Find Your Confidence in Christ

Find Your Confidence in ChristDoubt opens the door for a spirit of depression. When we doubt ourselves, doubt our abilities, doubt we will receive the outcome we seek, we press down beneath the covers and hope life will somehow work out.

But there is an antidote to doubt and a cure for depression that does not depend upon drugs and self-help, self-encouragement, and self-seeking. That antidote is our confidence in Christ. If any of us lacks confidence in our future, listen to these words of Jesus.

Friend, I have called you to myself. And if I have called you to myself and you allow yourself to be wrapped with my arms, held tight to me, then you can be assured that nothing will ever separate us.

Though you fear the darkness, I am your light. Though you fear death, I am your life. Though you fear supernatural principalities and powers, my power to protect you is greater. Though you fear the future, I am the Lord of today, tomorrow, and your days to come.

There are no powers, no circumstances, nothing in all creation that will  rip you from my grasp. Arise knowing that I am your strength, your hope, your confidence. (Romans 8:38-39)

Lean on me today and I will make your steps sure. (Proverbs 3:5-6). Trust me in this. — Jesus

Pronouns Matter to Jesus

Culture Shift

Pronouns Matter to JesusSome months back I heard a pastor refer to the Holy Spirit as “she.” Hearing the Holy Spirit addressed in the feminine gender seemed odd, almost irreverent, so to settle my own spirit, I did a little digging.

It turns out the Hebrew word for “spirit” (ruach) is feminine

But in Aramaic this same word for “spirit” (rûacḥ) is masculine.

In Genesis 1:26-28 we read, “God created man in his own image. In the image of God created him. Male and female created them.”

God created Adam in his image.

God created Eve in his image.

Both reflect the image of God and yet both are distinctly different.

So is God male? Female? Both?

Grammatical pronouns do not change the biology of a person, nor does calling the Holy Spirit “she” or “he” change the nature of God. We know that the Holy Spirit reflects God’s character (2 Corinthians 3:18). We also know that God’s character does not change (Malachi 3:6).

Yet when Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit, he refers to God’s spirit as “he” and “his.”

“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” (John 16:12-14)

In calling the Holy Spirit “he” did Jesus diminish the Spirit’s feminine qualities? God forbid.

If grammar does not change the biology of a person and grammar cannot change the nature of a spirit, does it matter which pronoun we use when addressing God and others?

First, let’s look at the issue of authority. If Jesus called the Holy Spirit “he,” and Jesus is the son of God — by his very nature God in the flesh — then by what authority do we disregard the words and example of Jesus?

Second, there is the issue of authenticity. If a slight grammatical change alters the perception of God’s holiness and unchanging nature, then some might conclude that God affirms our desire to rearrange the furnishing of his temple — to remake his temple into our image. And that’s dangerous business.

God’s temple is holy, and we are that temple. If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

Third, there is the issue of agenda. God has an agenda. He desires that all will come to him. Satan has an agenda. His agenda is to sow seeds of confusion, steal the words of God planted in hearts, destroy our faith in Jesus, and leave us dead in our sins.

Consider these words Jesus:

“When he (God’s spirit) comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin, and prove the world to be wrong about righteousness and judgment.

“Wrong about sin because people do not believe in me.

“Wrong about righteousness because I am going to the Father.

“Wrong about judgment because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears.” (John 16:8-13)

Like Jesus, believers are called to speak what we hear from the Spirit, what we read in God’s word, and what we can testify to be true based on God’s character.

Perhaps the lesson of the sermon is for us to pay close attention to the fruit of the spirits we hear. If that fruit leads to righteousness, repentance, and lives lived as persons redeemed by the blood of Jesus, count that as a good harvest.

If the fruit is rotten, dead, and sown in corruption, leave it and walk on.

Rise of Mute Spirits

Is Cancel Culture of a Demonic Nature

“While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke.” Matthew 9:32–33

The term cancel culture gets banded about daily, but perhaps the movement to silence opposing points of view is of a more demonic nature.

The Supreme Court has ruled that incitement, defamation, fraud, obscenity, child pornography, fighting words, and threats are banned speech. “The Brandenburg test was the Supreme Court’s last major statement on what government may do about inflammatory speech that seeks to incite others to lawless action. The Brandenburg test remains the standard used for evaluating attempts by the government to punish inflammatory speech, and it has not been seriously challenged since it was laid down in 1969.” – Wikipedia

Recently, however, private companies have begun to forbid speech of a certain nature (God, Jesus, certain Bible verses) that falls outside the Brandenburg test. One of the leading monitors and censors of this is Amazon. In a recent push the company began censoring ads and books that promote the transforming power of Jesus Christ. In fact  “transforming” “transformation” and “conversion” appear to be words flagged in Amazon’s algorithm. Below is a screenshot from Amazon’s ad team.

The Assault of Unclean Mute spirits


The offending language in this ad is the claim that God can help those struggling with addiction and find healing–which is one of the reasons Christ came.

Find healing and hope regardless of your addiction. Allow God to invade those dark thoughts that condemn you. Begin your faith journey today.

Amazon cites the ad because it targets “customers based on certain personal characteristics.”

By this standard we might expect that ads for expectant mothers to be banned. Dealing with cancer? Sorry, no ads for cancer books. Feeling a little large around the waste? No ads for dieting books.

Except on Amazon you will find ads for dieting books, and cancer books, and pregnancy books. Clearly “customers based on certain personal characteristics” is not the real culprit. If not, what is?

I suggest the offending phrase is “Allow God.” I say this because I have faced the Amazon ad censors before. When I ran Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Amazon randomly banned ads for Conversations With Jesus, a 365 day teen devotional. The approval or disapproval seemed to depend on who at Amazon read the ad that day. Amazon blocked other ads with the words “God” “Jesus” or which promoted the transforming power of Christ.

My point is not to bash Amazon. I have friends, believers in Christ, who work for Amazon. If not for Amazon, LPC would never have grown like it has. Amazon is a business. For authors and publishers, Amazon is like Rome. It makes the rules, enforces the rules, and banishes or destroys those who violate its rules.

But the day is coming, and I think soon, when Amazon will ban the Bible and all Christian content. Others claim Amazon earns too much money from Bible sales to ban it from their site. Except Amazon has already banned the Bible.

If you go to: and search for Bibles you will see a long list of Bibles from which to choose. This might lead you to think you can buy a Bible in China from Amazon. You cannot. Those inside China see a “no results” response to their search for the Bible. Amazon does not need the revenue from Bible and Christian book sales. Amazon needs happy customers and based on current cultural trends, most Amazon shoppers would gladly applaud Amazon for pulling Christian content from its U.S. site.

Christian authors need an alternative to Amazon, and I do not mean another store site. We need a site like Bookbub for Christian books, videos, audio, and all forms of Christian entertainment and educational material. Bookbub does not sell books; it provides information about a book and points visitors to online booksellers. This is my vision: that someone build a site like Bookbub for Christian authors.

Christian authors are represented on Bookbub but we are one small segment of their platform. Some have suggested Christian authors simply point to carries a nice selection of titles, but their policy (according to my last correspondence with Spring Arbor distributors) is that only carries Christian content. If a Christian author writes a general market novel that does not offer a salvation message, the title is rejected. I applaud the work of, but its exclusivity would leave too many Christian authors without a way to make their books found.

Thus the need for a site where authors can feature all works that honor and respect God and Christ, offer online chats with readers, stream live video events, feature video trailers and promotions, and publicize events. Imagine if Goodreads married Bookbub and their offspring produced a site similar in appearance to Amazon but without the commerce aspect. That is my vision.

In March 70 AD God’s people thought the protection and peace they enjoyed would continue to last. The destruction that followed was one half of a prophetic warning from Christ. The rest of his warning remains for some date in the future. “There will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” Matthew 24:21

For those who have their ears to the ground, we hear the distant thud-thud-thud of Romans soldiers approaching. Let us prepare while there is still time.


Find healing and hope regardless of your addiction. Allow God to invade those dark thoughts that condemn you. Begin your faith journey today.By the way the book Amazon refused to advertise is: Faith House: A Journey of Faith In Addiction Recovery. Nice book, nice author, and a believer trusting God for provision and sales.

Let Us Endeavor to Speak Until They Silence Our Voices


Let Us Endeavor to Speak Until They Silence Our Voices

Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency Fires Agent for Having Parler and Gab Accounts

The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency fired literary agent Colleen Oefelein after the firm discovered she had accounts on social media sites Parler and Gab. Oefelein had publicly acknowledged starting the accounts two months earlier.

Kate Hartson, Former Editor With Center Street for Supporting Donald Trump

Kate Hartson, former editor with Center Street, was recently fired, “for political reasons,” she says. The New York Times reports that her colleagues considered her a “true believer” in Donald Trump.

In an industry where imagination and words are the tools of the trade, such actions should give all authors pause for concern.

The “Information Establishment” shapes minds with words. When only one voice is heard, that is propaganda.

The “Entertainment Establishment” creates false reality and has the ability to make what is evil appear good and what is pure to appear prudish.

The “Academic Establishment” shapes young minds and is the recruiting field for the expanding army of thought police.

The “Political Establishment” enacts laws and sets public policy to insure its citizens remain in line.

The “Corporate Establishment” decides who works, eats, and lives in comfort or squalor.

All the above establishments exists within the kingdom of man.

Only in the Kingdom of God will you find free will for all, love for all from God, and the freedom to live without sin and hate through the Spirit of Christ. Those in Christ are not called to wage war on the kingdom of man. That is above our pay grade. Instead, we are called to pray that God’s words go forth and proclaim his Good News. Let us endeavor to speak, write, and teach until they silence our voices.