Poverty Strongholds #10 – The Demonic Factor

Poverty Strongholds – Post Ten – The Demonic Factor

  1. Demons
  2. Poor Stewardship – link to past article
  3. Lack of Knowledge (common sense)
  4. Mind Sets (faulty thinking)
  5. Lack of Holiness
  6. Agreements with the Enemy
  7. Bad Theology
  8. Blaming & Excuses
  9. Refusing to be a Blessing
  10. Pain Upon Pain

I’ve introduced all the other strongholds, so today, let’s take a look at the 1st Poverty Stronghold – Demons

On our original pie chart and in our list of poverty strongholds we had demons as first on the list. This was because the thinking that led to this entire series began with a theology relayed to us of how demons were the entire problem for all poverty and for everything that goes wrong.

In a certain area in Uganda we were told that all of the pervasive problems of that region were due to this very large tree that had had a demon in it, and that when the tree was cut down and distributed throughout the entire area the demonic stronghold became established in the entire area. This was the understanding, the belief, the theology. This is what we were told was the entire problem.


demonic conversation extension 2

But of course, as a professional people developer and as a prayer minister, I know that if we give all blame (ie:credit) to the demonic we have just given fully 100% of our power away, we’ve become victims and have entered ourselves into apathy and despair. So I roughly jotted out my thinking about this issue with the result being this series of posts. Today, in this series, I finally come to address the demonic factor. Let’s talk about that.

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Poverty Strongholds Post #3 – Poor Stewardship

Poverty Strongholds – Post #3 – Poor Stewardship

  1. Demons
  2. Poor Stewardship
  3. Lack of Knowledge (common sense)
  4. Mind Sets (faulty thinking)
  5. Lack of Holiness
  6. Agreements with the Enemy
  7. Bad Theology
  8. Blaming & Excuses
  9. Refusing to be a Blessing
  10. Pain Upon Pain

Walking through these poverty strongholds we will begin with our second stronghold, Poor Stewardship. I’ll write a post on each of these separately, for I am realizing the depth of the material to explore.

Let’s Begin: Poor Stewardship 

Poor Stewardship refers to the basic principle of being faithful with a little. From my own experience and observations this ‘faithful with a little’ is either a character strength or a character flaw. We either take care of the things entrusted to us or we do not.

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Hands Off!

Every once in awhile I come across an indiscretion within the body of Christ. It is something that in some circles is considered normal but ultimately reveals itself to be the precursor to much bad fruit. It is this thing about permission and an assumed ownership of each other’s gifting and callings.

I remember many years ago sitting in a church service listening to a message regarding the verse, “To him who has been given much, much is required” and immediately through my mind ran a litany of all the things I had been given.

Now, the Lord had already been telling me for some years that one day I would be impacting many, many people around the world. I was slowly adjusting to this thought and preparing myself for this work of the Lord that was still off in some distant future.

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Walking in The Way

I recently created a diagram to illustrate the work that CCIM does compared to the more traditional and humanitarian aid work that many organizations are involved towards. First off I want to make it plain and clear that there is nothing wrong with humanitarian aid work. For many around the world it is a lifeline that speaks to the reality of God in our midst through the practical help of others. I myself have benefited from practical help through the years.

What I learned though, through my own years, is the understanding that for every bad fruit in our lives there is a bad root. Bad fruit does not just come from nowhere, there is always a legal right for that bad fruit to be there. CCIM at the roots - Version 2

What I mean is this: authority in the spirit realm works by very clear rules and principles with each one of us giving either Satan or God authority in our lives.

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Capturing God’s Heart – Money – Volume 34

There is nothing quite like money to test our integrity and our priorities. Through money we can easily see the character of a person, the quality of an organization, and the honesty of a church.

As humans we are quite naturally concerned with our everyday needs. We are concerned with where we live, the food we are eating, the things we must pay for and provide for ourselves and those we are caring for.

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Bearing God

I learned the power of fasting years ago. It was during the start of my own inner healing journey. I was scheduled for prayer ministry every second week and I made a commitment to myself to fast for the twenty-four hours leading up to and through my appointments.

I never really could pinpoint the power of that fasting at the time but I did know the power of those prayer sessions, they changed my life. A few years later a friend was experiencing her own set of prayer ministry yet she confided to me that she wasn’t getting much out of them, that God still seemed distant and her heart was not touched.

I suggested that she fast the twenty-four hours leading up to and through her sessions and the next week she reported a profound new depth in her experience of prayer and of healing before the Lord; it was a night and day difference to what had been before.

There is something about fasting that removes our coping mechanisms, our veneers, our defences. When we give up food for a time we are brought low in need and the ultimate sort of preoccupation with self. And in that reminder of our hunger we turn to God with a heart serious on receiving His help; we can’t do this on our own.

As the years progressed and I began ministering in prayer myself there were many a time when I would awake in a morning and was not really hungry and so I would eat very little. Later in the day I would come to find that so-and-so needs an emergency prayer session and then I would know, “Oh that is why I ate so little today.” Many times the Lord orchestrated my fasting without my prior knowledge.

Not only is fasting for ourselves but fasting enters us into spiritual work alongside the Lord Jesus Christ; our understanding is heightened and our perceptions are clearer.

In more recent years my fasting has taken on various modes. I rarely fast food any more and I’ve learned not to fast unless the Holy Spirit explicitly directs me. For fasting must never be used as a manipulative tool to get what we want. It is never a good idea to take what worked here and try to make it work there.

Our walks with the Lord must never become business, never a product that we transfer from here to there thinking that it worked so well there, why not here? Relationship with God is not something to be taken lightly and so we do not move according to our own best wisdom or ideas and this includes fasting.

In recent years as I’ve travelled and ministered overseas each trip is preceded by some sort of fasting. God woos me and invites me to join him and his work, entering into the holy of holies. My first trip was preceded by six weeks of no makeup; no easy feat at the time. Since then I’ve fasted jewelry and tea amongst other things; not easy either if you know me.

I find fasting closely linked to a nesting type experience where all of who I am is entered into silence and heart preparation for a spiritual work to come. Because we at CCI move at the explicit direction of the Holy Spirit and not before, this fasting and nesting is in fact one of the first things to alert me to a trip and to ministry to come. I’ve learned to watch for it and pay attention to it; when my spirit hunkers down there is the Lord’s work for me around the corner.

Fasting is no longer for myself per se, it’s not by my volition but rather it’s an act of preparation and coming alongside the Lord with a tangible and physical sign and commitment that I agree with what is to come and his use of me; I am glad to be alongside God in this way. He directs it and enables it, enables me.

My first trip in 2014 is back to Uganda. We’ve not yet settled on the exact month but I can feel it coming. Thoughts have moved from my mind to my heart and are now settling in my spirit and I’m entering into the nesting and the birthing that precedes a work of the Lord.

This bearing of a work is hard work. The heart of God presses down on me and I become his bearer in a way, birthing him.

Who’s the Boss?

As with any para-church organization, as with any start-up of any sort, as with any new church plant, we at Capturing Courage have been walking through financial challenges and lessons for awhile now. And we have learned a lot of things.

I used to shy away from money matters. Money used to frighten me and there was always a sense of confusion about how to navigate choices and decisions regarding money. But of course this didn’t do me any good whatsoever. I used to think that the answer to this confusion would be to have more money. After all, if I wasn’t hindered in my choices perhaps I wouldn’t be so confused.

But large infusions of money are never the answer. I know this now. For if we are not competent in the little we won’t be competent in the much. These last few years have seen us becoming competent in the little. And it’s been a really good thing.

In the midst of the last couple of years a few definitive things have been sorted out within my own being that are now impacting the character and nature of us at CCI (as in any organization the leader sets the tone and standard and growth – the organization won’t grow beyond the leaders growth).

The first thing the Lord did was to separate my sense of self from money. In other words, who I am has nothing to do with, takes no bearing from, where our money is at at any given time. Meaning, if I had debt (I learned this in the midst of debt) I was not a less-than person. God poured into me his love and grace and comfort and leading just the same in debt as in much.

This was the work of many painful months (as the Lord dismembered my unholy soul ties with money – I was way too associated with money), looking back I wouldn’t undo this. For this separation then set into place the ability to have much without it making any statement about myself as well. And as we go forward within the many promises and assurances from the Lord that there is plenty of money for the work called of us it is imperative that much does not speak of us but speaks of our Lord.

In other words, I am the same person whether in want or in wealth. This was a critical first thing to learn and something I learned down to the marrow of my bones. As Paul wrote in Philippians, ” for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” 4:11-12

This journey with money has simply been a process of removing ego from the mix. In any of the things we are called to, but particularly within the spirit realm, there must not be anything of us in the mix. Meaning, where we are in the flesh we are weak and prone to compromise and confusion (and outright attack). Where we are in the spirit things are clear and systematic, genuine and true investments in the kingdom of God.

Ego particularly shows up in money decisions. I recently received a text from one of our Ugandan pastors who was expecting me in January. I had let him know that we had made the decision that I would not travel there in January for a number of reasons. His reply was laden thick with disappointment and it caught at my heart.

All of a sudden, where one day before I was so sure that I wasn’t to travel, I now desperately wanted to head there in January. But upon further study of my heart I realized that there was still woven through me this lie and feeling of being a disappointment. I went before the Lord with it, did some business alongside the spirit, wept and prayed it through, and have come out the other side freer than before.

You see, if our decisions are laden with our own ego and the lies and such woven there, our decisions will be bad ones. And we will end up ineffective and unproductive in the work at hand.

We have made it very clear in our statements about how we decide when and where to travel and that we move according to the Holy Spirit only. We don’t go with our best ideas or anyone else’s for that matter. Yet right there in the midst of feeling a disappointment all of the careful movement with the spirit was almost thrown out the window.

For, with the spirit + not disappointing = really bad decision making.

Ego had to be removed once more from the equation. Money matters and the decisions around them highlight where our ego’s remain in the mix. For in my need (notice, my need, not the Lords) to not disappoint I was ready to bombard our donors for more money and to ‘make it happen’ for January in Uganda.

But in this I would have violated so many of the things we have learned. For instance:

1. Do with what we have.

2. God is not in a rush.

3. Faithful with a little.

4. Trust the timing of each trip.

5. Slow steady growth is best.

6. Do not move with the programs of men.

7. Rest in the Lord and he will provide.

And quite frankly, if the only way we can follow the leading of the Lord and understand his timing is by the money at hand or not at hand, we are still crippled as leaders. If the only thing that tells us that ‘yes now it is time to go to such and such a place’ is the money available we are sunk.

It’s one of the other things I’ve been learning and that must still be fully realized in my being, that money is a non-entity. That in the kingdom of God money holds no more power than a flea on the ground. It is us who give way too much power to money. It is us who exaggerate its voice.

To truly move by the Spirit would be the ability (for us at CCI) to hold back even with much money in the bank. For are we making rational decisions alongside the spirit or emotional decisions alongside money?

Our hearts want to go everywhere today. As we continue building and investing and showing up in relationship after relationship my own heart is torn and tested time and again. We cannot go everywhere at once. I’m not even so sure we can go everywhere in this coming year. So how do we decide?

What I do know, is that we wait on the leading and the guiding of the Holy Spirit. We put aside our own best thoughts and wisdoms and we truly wait. Then, when the Lord says, ‘Go’, then we go, and not before. At the same time when the Lord says, ‘Go’ we make our plans in the provision of the Lord even if we cannot see it all at the front end.

Money is simply passion and energy and vision and we call it forth in surrender and service to the leading of our Lord. The lack of it will not lead us, the much of it will not lead us. Rather, we are led by the Spirit of our Living God.

As we surrender again and again to this way of being alongside our Lord we create a space, we lead the way, we set the stage, we model to money that it too must surrender to this way. Money must also bow itself to the timing and direction of our Lord here at CCI.

Amen and amen in the name and the blood of our Living Lord Jesus Christ.

With all glory to you Father.

Capturing God’s Heart – Rules for Living – Volume 31

It is easy to want rules for living. Something that tells us “do this” and “don’t do that” removes us from the need to walk in true relationship with God. If we can just figure out what he wants then we simply have to follow a to-do list.

But the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the work of The Kingdom is much more than what we are doing or not doing. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about relationship, about nuance, about principles for living (not rules), and about our manner of being woven throughout everything.

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The Power of Waiting

Cyndy in rural Uganda - November 2011I am heading to Mozambique in less than a week. The invitation has been since the early months of 2012. They’ve been waiting quite some time.

I’m finding though that our characters are proven in the wait. That what we think we are ready for right now may very well need some more time before coming to pass.

From the time that God first spoke out the possibility of Capturing Courage International until it was launched there was nine long years of preparation and prayer and waiting.

I don’t rush to make things happen so much anymore. I’ve learned that God is not in a rush, and that everything has its own best time.

In the waiting we grow in commitment, patience, and bigger picture understanding. Nothing else produces these things quite like waiting.

While we want everything yesterday God says, ‘Walk with me awhile, we will get to it.’

This last year has been another year of waiting. It’s been over a year since I’ve done an international ministry trip and how difficult it has been to stay home.

But in the waiting of this last year we have learned quite a few things at CCI. We’ve realized the core of our work. We are settled in the few solid things rather than trying a myriad.

Waiting did this. Waiting set up the framework for wisdom, for clarity, and with perspective that is deeper than our own best ideas and thoughts.

Waiting grows our capacity and I am realizing that until God can trust us with waiting he can’t really trust us with action.

So however you are waiting today, engage the wait, learn from it, allow it to expand your soul and your mind, take on the difficulty of waiting, rest in it.

God is in the waiting as much as in our actions. Find him there.

Praise at Work

P1270214Pastor Praise in Uganda is Youth Director over 405 churches. He has been using the Capturing God’s Heart material as discipleship material and is finding good favour and changed lives as a result.

His desire is to give out certificates as those he is teaching learn and experience the heart of God through this material.

At Capturing Courage we are committed to whatever it may be that will help him do the best job he can do, with the specific calling on his life.

Within Uganda 49% of the population is under the age of 15. This is staggering and when we look ahead at the opportunity to parent and raise up the next generation, we are simply glad to be working alongside those like Praise who are committed to equipping and encouraging an entire generation.

Please keep Praise in your prayers and all of us as we work out the details regarding certificates and how to facilitate this as simply as possible yet with integrity and transparency.

Praise also has a school, a few of his students pictured above, and has been trained in organic gardening. He appreciates all prayers for both the school and the garden they have there, the training of the children in methods that produce great crops.

Tangibly right now, pray that he can find the materials and resources to make a fence around his garden so that the cows don’t get into it.

And as he teaches and trains the youth from the 405 churches he is responsible to, cover him in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The Gift of Hope

calendar 7In my readings this past month I came across a comment from decades ago, stating that the poor and the outcast “have no right to hope.”

It was a shocking statement to read. Really? Who believes this?

It was a bird’s eye view into another time and way of thinking. But even as I read it I could see that this same thinking just might be a large part of the undercurrent that keeps modern poverty and slavery alive.

Do we have this same thinking as an undercurrent of our thinking. Does it have impact on our justice and aid work. Do we believe that those less fortunate ‘deserve’ what they get.

A few years back I wrote a blog post about grace experienced and passed out. I relayed a situation that was less than ideal and how the grace of God broke in and pressed down.

And some of the responses were so angry. One woman responded with, “If only I had experienced that grace.” Another could hardly stomach the grace, for she had slogged through her own failures, thank-you very much.

It seems that grace makes us angry. If we have not known it we certainly don’t want to give it. And once we’ve spent years trying to fix our lives, make everything right, slogged through our ‘lot in life’ we certainly don’t want to see someone get off scot-free.

Grace, the hope of God, does this.

It covers over. It breaks through. Regardless of class or past or present or circumstance God delights to pour in and make things new.

Thus the anger. Thus the rage. The sense of justice thwarted. How dare ‘they’ hope.

For some time now the impact of Capturing Courage has eluded me a bit. I’ve been working to understand the core gift that we are giving out to those in rural third-world countries. I think it is hope.

And I’ve come to conviction and conclusion. Everyone deserves to hope. Everyone is entitled to grace. Because God said so.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11