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Dethroning Intellect

07/12/2014 4 comments

“Jesus is the sweetest name I know,” I was singing in the van on the way back from a conference on deliverance. That was 1974.

In the previous blog I mentioned a phone call from Jimmy Darnel, a pastor I worked with from 1973 till 1981. Our conversation caused me to reflect on days gone by. The ride back from that conference came to mind. As I sang, “He’s just the same as his lovely name,” it suddenly dawned on me; there’s no inconsistency between what his name claims and who he is. “His name is Wonderful; and he is. His name is Counselor; and he is,” I spoke those words out loud as tears rolled from my eyes.

The presence of the Holy Spirit filled the van. We had to pull over to the side of the road and regain our composure before we continued our journey home. That was one of the most meaningful times of my early experiences with the Holy Spirit. It was heavy, and it was sweet.

At the conference I had responded to a ‘generic’ altar call. “If you want more of God,” the pastor said, “just come up front.” Well, who wouldn’t want more of God? So I went to the altar. I heard the pastor was praying blessings on everyone as he approached me. But when he came to me the atmosphere changed. “I command that intellectual demon to leave, in Jesus name,” he said.

I literally felt something like a band break from around my head. I had picked up an intellectual demon while studying on various campuses and didn’t even know it. I had just finished the coursework for toward a Ph.D. in the Hebrew language at The University of Texas at Austin. When he prayed for me, all of a sudden I no longer needed the credentials. The discipline of learning stayed with me, but the certificate of graduation no longer had meaning for me.

The reality of the new found freedom had come to conscious awareness in the van while singing that chorus. Intimacy with our Father and with his Son by the Holy Spirit was a new experience for me. After that prayer I no longer related to God with my reason. My heart had come alive in him. I understood what Solomon meant when he said, “Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the issues of life.”

Since that time touching people’s heart with Father’s love has been a priority over academic standards. There’s no longer a need to impress people with how much I know. That was the beginning of a new leg of my journey. The only thing that motivates me now is the advancing of the kingdom of God in the lives of individuals and church communities.

Moments like that don’t come often, but they always mark a change in the way we do things; a new focus comes in with the experience. Father had visited me in 1957 and changed my plans to remain in the Air Force till I retired. In this visit he set me free from a drive to prove myself as a teacher.

The challenge before all of us is to allow the experiences of life to bring us to a deeper place in Father’s bosom and a more impassioned involvement in advancing his kingdom. Church is boring when there is only the presence of the pastor and worship team. We need the life-changing presence of the Lord of Glory.

Fount Shults
President, On Word Ministries
http://www.onword.org

One Happy Lady

I will never forget the pain I saw in her eyes as Lynda and I ministered to her. Many in the Korean culture have little appreciation for women. When a girl is born in Korea, she is often unwanted. The parents want boys because a boy child is worth more in their eyes. This woman was the third girl born to her parents. They already had one boy, but they wanted another boy.

She was given over to her mother’s sister to get her out of the house. Although she was allowed to return to her mother, she continued to be rejected while her brother was honored. As you might imagine, she always wanted to be a boy so she could have value as a person. Even as an adult her mother continues to give good things to the brother and gives her nothing, not even attention. She was much in need of a touch from Father God.

During ministry she saw Jesus come and say he was happy she was a girl. She heard his voice.  He had knit her together in her mother’s womb. He had made a girl because he wanted a girl. She was deeply moved as she accepted her femininity. She felt the love of Father God and was healed of her self-rejection. She now has freedom.

We are done with our teachings here in Korea. It has been a very fruitful time of ministry as we shared the love of Father God with students in the various classes. Our hearts are full of gratitude for the privilege our Father gives us to share his love with so many people in so many places.

We will be returning to the USA Monday. I will be leaving almost immediately for Wallkill, New York to share with the Mid-Hudson Christian Church. I was close to this fellowship for many years while I was teaching at Elim Bible Institute in Lima, NY. I am looking forward to being with old friends and making some new friends.

By the way, on our website there are several teachings available for you to listen to online or download to an MP3 player without charge. We try to post a new teaching every month if we can. Any donations to help us continue to make these available without charge will be greatly appreciated. http://onword.org/listen_to_fount.htm

Always looking forward,

Fount Shults

Journey to Freedom 4: Victory over Automatic Responses

In our previous blog we said the first step to freedom is to recognize the internal conflict, and the second is to forgive and release the offender. Those acts set us free on one level, but living life in this new freedom is a challenge because we have developed self-defeating habit patterns. Situations continue to trigger the internal memories of being victimized. In this blog we will address the issue of overcoming on a day-by-day basis.

We all know Paul’s pronouncement, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of love, power and discipline.” The word translated discipline (literally a healed mind) refers to the “mind of the heart,” or the subconscious as we call it in our culture. It does not refer to the mind of information, logic and analysis, but to the internal “programs” that produce automatic action. When we say something we didn’t intend to say, it was the heart-mind that reacted.

Solomon said, “Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the issues of life.” The activities (issues) of our life flow from the internal programs of our subconscious, especially those actions that automatically respond to situations without thinking. So our success as an overcomer requires that we reprogram our heart-mind. How do we do that?

We access the heart-mind by monitoring our internal dialogue, the things we say to ourselves about ourselves, about others (or to others when they aren’t there), about how things work in the world (what I have to do to succeed) and about God (like, “God doesn’t love me as much as others”). Our internal dialogue was originally programmed by words spoken or implied by important others in our life.

As a young boy, when I made mistakes on the jobsite with my dad he would say, “You’re dumb. You’ll never amount to anything.” Those words continued to be my self-definition long after he passed on. I said those words to myself every time I messed up. They became my identity: “I AM dumb,” I would say to myself. Those words plagued me for years until I began to understand the inner-workings of the heart-mind.

To reprogram our subconscious we simply change our self-talk. Yes, it’s simple; but it’s not easy. Our old programs fight to remain in charge because in them we think we have safety. To counter those thoughts, we must replace them with empowering thoughts. I began to say to myself what I read in Scripture about myself as a new creature in Christ.

“I am more than conqueror through Christ who strengthens me,” I would say over and over until I began to experience it. “It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” was a mantra until I felt its truth deeply. I would say, “I can do all things through Christ.” Saying, “The eyes of my heart are enlightened to know…,” helped me to begin to see the mysteries of the kingdom. As I continued to speak thus, the “spirit wisdom and of revelation” became a reality in my life.

The old adage, “Say it till you see it,” is true, but only if you are saying it because you know it’s true. If you’re trying to make it true by saying it, your self-talk won’t work. This is the problem of positive affirmations: they don’t work unless you already believe. So we must go one step deeper and monitor the deeper self-talk that occurs while we are talking to ourselves. The deeper level of self-talk exposes the lies we believe, lies we allow to influence our behavior.

Phrases like, “Not really; this won’t change anything,” will pop up. It’s necessary to correct those phrases immediately before we continue the affirmation. Confront the contrary phrase head-on. Counter it by saying to yourself, “It is true, because God said it. My present experience does not change the truth.” As you continue this over time, the truth will change your experience, your triggers will become weaker and your life will begin to change.

If these blogs are meaningful to you, share them with your friends and invite them to sign up to receive them automatically when a new one is available. Have them go to http://onword.org and click on the “blog” link. There is a place in the upper right-hand to enter their email address.

Looking Forward,
Fount Shults
President and Founder
On Word Ministries

Journey to Freedom: 3 From Survivor to overcomer

In our previous blog we noticed that childhood survivor skills don’t work in adult life. When we use the childhood defense mechanisms as adults, we have trouble experiencing intimacy with God and with others. We learned how to survive as a child, but when we left home we had not overcome the abusers. Our defense mechanisms helped us get through it all, but we did not win. In other words, we were still standing when the combat was over, but we lost the battle.

We also noted that, because of the constant clash in childhood, we never learned to bond in a positive way. In fact, our staying power became a block to intimacy when we entered adult life. We found ourselves quite capable of engaging in combat with other adults, but inadequate in developing close relationships. Sometimes we even engaged in combat with our spouse and children because we had a need to win. We became just like the caregivers who abused us. This took the problem to the next generation.

As children we were totally dependent on caregivers. If those caregivers were abusive, we had no choice but to learn how to survive. Now that we are adults, however, we are responsible for our own lives and must overcome and develop adult skills that promote intimacy. The ability to promote intimacy requires a different set of aptitudes than survivor skills. Since we didn’t develop these skills in childhood, we must make a concerted effort to break old behavior patterns if we want to move from being a survivor to being an overcomer.

As adults our battle is no longer with those who may have abused us or neglected us when we were young. We lost that war. Now we are fighting against our victim issues which are now internalized. Without realizing it, we are trying to fight that internal war by competing with the significant others in our lives. We may play one-upmanship with our spouse and children, for example, as though our battle were with them. If our spouse also has unresolved issues from childhood, he or she will respond as though their conflict were with us. And the battle rages on.

We will never become overcomers by competing with others for kudos. We may win the skirmish, but we forfeit any possible intimacy. The first step to being an overcomer is to recognize that the real battle is with our childhood defense mechanisms. As long as we are blaming and attacking others, we are fighting the wrong opponent. Self-control is all about conquering the urge to react or withdraw when these internalized conflicts are influencing our perception of reality.

My father died when I was 22 years old, but the battle still raged inside me. My “internalized father” continued to speak those negative words to me long after he died. I continued to feel his voice telling me I was no good and would never amount to anything. As long as I focused on his abuse, I continued to think and react like a survivor. I would even respond to my wife as though she were putting me down when it was actually my internalized father.

The first step to overcoming is to recognize the internal conflict for what it really is. It is a battle we are still fighting with the ones who took unfair advantage of our vulnerability. When we hold on to the offense we are allowing them to continue to aggravate us even after we no longer live with them, even after they are dead. We have the power to change that, but it requires action.

The second step is to forgive and release our “adversary.” Many people have trouble forgiving because they think forgiving is letting the perpetrator off the hook. But we are the one that is on the hook because of un-forgiveness. When we forgive we are not saying, “It’s OK.” Sin is never OK. We’re saying, “Your sin is covered, and I release you from my grip.” This does not release them from their sins, but it sets us free from our internalized battle. When we take this step it begins a journey out of bondage into victory. We will become increasingly free to learn the skills necessary to develop intimate relationships.

If these blogs are meaningful to you, share them with your friends and invite them to sign up to receive them automatically when a new one is available. Have them go to http://onword.org and click on the “blog” link. There is a place in the upper right-hand to enter their email address.

Looking Forward,
Fount Shults
President and Founder
On Word Ministries

Finding Father

11/17/2012 4 comments

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn. 14:6)

Most people read this statement and think Jesus said he was the way to heaven, but that’s not what he said. This is not to deny heaven or life after death, but only to draw attention to the point Jesus was making. He is the way to the Father. In five previous blogs we talked about orphans and orphan thinking. Orphans are those who feel they are all alone with no one to care for them, no one to guide them or protect them. Orphans need a Father.

In all of us there is an inborn desire to receive an embrace from a father figure. That desire is in us by Father God’s design. If our earthly fathers failed us, we spend our lives looking for comfort and affirmation from other sources. We seldom realize what we are really looking for—a father’s embrace. We try to find feelings of significance through athletic competition, through business success or through our relationships with significant others in our lives.

When these fail to fulfill our desire, we may turn to drugs, alcohol, sex or some other way of altering our mood. Some just stay busy trying to avoid facing the void they feel inside. But all those activities leave us empty and unfulfilled. Depression sets in and we lose interest in life; we drop out of the race. Some have thought about suicide as a viable option, and a few have actually committed suicide. Much of this type of dysfunction is directly related to the lack of a relationship with a real father, one who cares and who demonstrates his care.

Jack Frost used to say, “You can’t drive out an orphan spirit; you simply introduce them to Father.” There are those who have tried to deal with these dysfunctional behavior patterns by driving out demons. I cannot deny that there really are demons in the world, but many times there is more harm done by trying to deal with demons when the person is only suffering from a father-wound. The father-wound can only be healed by introducing the orphan to the Father who loves them and who will never leave them or forsake them.

World religions are focused on self-actualization, improving our spiritual status or earning a place in some other-worldly existence. The New Testament follows Jesus in seeking a real relationship with Father God, a relationship that is available here and now. Christianity is not a religion in the usual sense of the word; it is a relationship with Father through Jesus by the Holy Spirit. This relationship begins when we meet Jesus, it grows as we spend time getting to know him and his Father intimately, and it will continue beyond death. This relationship will never end.

The problem is that many Christians think they have arrived when they meet Jesus. Jesus is the way, he is not the destination. The destination is the bosom of the Father. Perhaps this is the reason many continue to seek comfort and affirmation in all the wrong places. They have met Jesus, but they have not yet followed him to meet his loving Father. Often they still think of Father God as absent or demanding (like their earthly fathers). They never experience the freedom Jesus promised to those who follow him because they try to relate to God as though he were like their dad who wounded them by his absence or by various kinds of abuse.

Some miss the mark because they try to earn that freedom by believing all the right doctrines or performing all the right deeds. They are trying to earn a place in Father’s presence. All their Bible study and religious activity leaves them empty. Some deal with the emptiness by pretending they are full (at least while they are in a church service). Some try to force others to make them feel good by convincing them of the rightness of their pet doctrine or by training them to behave according to their particular tradition. Those people are really hard to get along with.

The challenge is to follow Jesus to the Father. I can’t tell you how to do that. I can only tell you that Jesus is the way to the Father’s bosom, and the bosom of the Father is really what you are panting for. Get to know him intimately and you will experience Father’s embrace.

Feel free to invite others to enjoy these blogs. Share the word.
Fount Shults
President and Founder
On Word Ministries
http://onword.org

Seeing and Hearing 10: How and What you Hear

01/20/2012 1 comment

“Take care how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.” (Luke 8:18)

In Matthew Jesus warned, “Take care what you hear,” but in Luke he said, “Take care how you hear.” The first concerns the content of the message and the second concerns the way you listen to the message. Our focus has been back and forth between the two, but in reality the two are essentially the same. How you are hearing is related to whether you are listening to your own voice or the actual message. What you are hearing is not the true message if you are listening to yourself rather than the speaker.

“Seriously consider how you hear” means take responsibility for the condition of your heart and ears. The condition of your ear is connected to the condition of your heart. A hard heart will shut out any word that threatens your previous understanding. A cluttered heart will choke out the word and keep it from bearing fruit.

We can see this clearly in Acts 2. There were two responses of the crowd that gathered when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples. One group asked, “What does this mean?” The other group scoffed, “These men are drunk.” The first were hearing properly; they knew there was a message in the events that were unfolding before them. The second were listening to their inner critical response to the same events. They were blinded by their prejudices and not get [see] the message.

Those who are convinced of their righteousness have no desire to hear anything different. If they acknowledge the reality of the events, they will have to admit they’ve been wrong. After I was impacted deeply by the Holy Spirit I shared with a friend. His response surprised me. He said, “If I agree with you, I will have to admit I have been wrong all these years.” I have had many reject the testimony, but no one stated so clearly what was really going on inside. He was unwilling to change his position.

Another implication of seeing what you hear is this: our duty is not so much to talk to people about our Father, but to show them by a life that unfolds from the action of the Holy Spirit. Peter did not preach until after the Holy Spirit had moved. His sermon was simply explaining what had happened. The message cannot be spoken effectively apart from the movement of the Holy Spirit (see I Cor. 12:3). Even for Jesus this was true: “the power of the Lord was with him to heal” (Lk. 5:17).

Most of the crowd rejected the message. These who rejected it were probably the same ones who had accused the disciples of being drunk. I believe the three thousand that asked, “What must we do?” were the same ones who had asked, “What does this mean?” Those with a critical spirit do not hear the message; they only hear words they can easily discount.

These two groups were hearing the same words, but they were not hearing the same message. The ‘how’ of their listening was affecting the ‘what’ of their hearing.

We often speak of the ‘tone of voice’ to imply an attitude behind what is audible. There is a heart attitude, or a “spirit,” that is carried by the tone in the voice. Perhaps we also need a phrase to indicate the ‘tone of hearing.’ You can listen with an attitude. The burden to speak is on the speaker, but the burden to hear is on the listener. Listening to God means paying attention to his heart attitude toward the situation we are facing and what we are thinking about doing. Our heart attitude is exposed by the way we listen.

When we confuse our own heart attitude with his voice, we are listening to ourselves, not to him. We are often vain enough to think God agrees with our prejudices. If what you’re thinking is not loving, compassionate and encouraging, it is probably from your own heart. When we speak or act from that platform, we are walking according to the flesh. We are not doing what we see Father doing.

Our Father sent Jesus to free us from our prejudices. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:22). To abide in a word means to allow that word to influence the way you live, the way you relate to others. To know the truth means to experience the reality of which the word speaks.

The Jews in John 8 were unwilling to admit they didn’t already have truth (they were prejudice). They also denied they were in bondage. They remained in bondage because they were only listening to themselves. Many in our world today are in bondage because of their unwillingness to allow their ideas to be challenged. Jesus said Isaiah was talking about those people when he wrote:

“For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should turn again, and I should heal them.” (Isa. 6)

Notice the connection of eyes, ears and heart in this passage. The parable of the sower and the seed is all about those three and how they relate to the success of the word-seed in a person’s life. My friend above did not want to change; even in the face of evidence. He wanted to maintain his prejudice. His ears were dull of hearing anything that did not agree with what he already believed. As a result, he failed to experience (know) the truth of the availability of the Holy Spirit in his life.

Perhaps now you can see the importance of the exercises I have suggested – paying attention to what is happening in your imagination while you are reading or listening. If you will make a habit of this, it will position you to experience truth and find ever increasing freedom in your life.

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Looking Forward,
Fount Shults
On Word Ministries http://onword.org

Mexico Report

We are back in the States now. Ready for the next project.

The Mexico trip was very successful. I ministered to a leadership group from the state of Michoacan, Mexico. Ther were about 450 pastors and leaders there. I sharred on the principles Lynda and I use in prayer ministry and many of the leaders received a level of freedom.

I also sharred at three churches in Morelia, Mexico where the leaders were gathered. All the teachings were centered around the same theme and the leaders were encouraged to get the CD’s from the teachings they were not able to attend. The results will continue as these men and women go back to their local churches and share with their people.

Our Next Project:

A pastor in Pakistan invited me to preach to his church through Skype this Fraiday (morning our time). This will be a new experience for me. Pray that the translator will get the heart of the message and communicate clearly to their people.

I will keep you posted.

Fount