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Discipleship Faith Friendship Getting Help Pain Purpose

Improve & Transform Terrible Memories

Astronomy Photographer of the Year shortlist - in pictures
Father and son observing Comet Pan-Starrs in Massachusetts

There is a straightforward way to transform terrible memories, which I just recently discovered and noticed through a Facebook friend, Henry Kanu, who lives in Sierra Leone.

This works so well for me because I already have experience with and belief in a particular promise of God: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good”, Romans 8:28a., ESV.

Henry Kanu and I were discussing and exploring this promise, when Holy Spirit prompted me to test this out and prove it to myself – even further.

So I thought of two memories that I considered terrible memories of things I had experienced. (My wife’s unexpected death and a painful childhood time.) Then I applied God’s promise to those two memories.

Remarkably, they no longer seemed like terrible memories; there were just precursors – things that happened first, before God tuned those experiences into good things – which I can now easily notice and appreciate. I am grateful for what has happened.

Applying God’s promise literally transformed the memories from being of things I felt were bad – into memories of how God made good out of those things. I literally remember and experience the blessings that God gave as a result of these experiences.

They no longer were terrible memories for me.

If you have enough experience &/or enough trust in this promise from Romans 8:28a, I believe this transformation can easily happen for you, too.

And if you need more experience with this promise, I recommend you do two things. First, meditate on God’s promise. Second, remember some specific things that are terrible memories, and notice how God turned these experiences into something good for you.

After doing this for a while, see how the promise may help you transform a memory of something that felt bad, and that you thought of as a terrible memory.

I believe you will notice as I have, a memory of something you thought of as being bad and that felt bad – can be transformed by applying God’s promise of Romanss 8:28a.

Oh – and it’s an excellent idea to give thanks for the improvement and transformation to Jesus. And to praise him for this. Which will have the side effect of nailing down the transformative experience of a bad memory into being the start of something good that God has done for you.

Thank you, Henry Kanu. And most of all, thank you, Jesus Christ!

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Getting Help Key Article Learning Prayer Spiritual Warfare Worship

It is Your Response that Matters

Your response protects you from Satan’s attacks. (jon-tyson-mr9qc7VLnek-unsplash)

You can be a First Responder!

Our Lord cares about how you respond. While what happens to you is not always within your power to control, your response is always within your power. Why does Father care so much about your response?

It’s an opportunity for faith, which pleases God.

I hope I can learn this well and deeply, it will change my life and I believe it can change yours. And this lesson is being brought to me these days in multiple ways, and I would be foolish not to learn.

Worship is our key response. Which opens doors to so much else.

I got sick: this is a call to worship my Healer.

I had financial pressures: this is a call to worship my Provider.

I have a family member who is under tremendous pressures: this is a call to worship my Creator.

(My special thanks to Amanda Rankin who teaches such things as this and who provides timely, needed and loving reminders. May everyone be blessed to have a good friend like she is.)

See the pattern? Problems are literally a call to worship the One who provides help and everything that we need.

You could simply ask for help. Worship as a first response is better; not only is such worship an implied request, it has side effects on you: greater faith. Puts our Lord highest, instead of making idols in your heart out of what you desire.

Putting righteousness and the Kingdom first, all of these other things are added to you.

And…asking for help after you have worshipped connects you better to the One who Helps. Puts the King first instead of your need. Allows and assists you to receive help better from your Helper.

Worship God — what a wonderful first response!

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Discipleship Getting Help Jesus's Communication Joy Kingdom of God Prayer

Weary? A Slightly Surprising Answer

Rest in Christ

28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11&version=NRSV

When you are weary, rest and relief is available. It may be a little different than expected, though; Jesus is often surprising.

I’ll get right to it, no fooling around and being careful and slow. Here it is: he will give us rest. Especially as we add to ourselves some of his qualities. Such as being gentle and humble of heart.

When we are learning from Jesus and allowing him to take our (heavy) yoke, not only is he stronger than we, he is also being gentle and humble of heart.

Which means we are not being proud, when we ask him like this. Not being proud, when we are being gentle and humble of heart.

I don’t know about you, but when I am weary and find rest, by hindsight is is easy for me to be clear: while I was weary I had been being proud. Carrying a heavy burden and being proud about it.

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Conversation with God Getting Help Ministry

Minister to Yours – Only?

Bible Clip Art: Jesus Walking on the Water Matthew 14:26-29

Ministry goes best, is easiest, and most powerful when we minister to those that God gives to us. Jesus did this. (He ministered to his own disciples a lot. Taught them and saved them. A valuable clue.)

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24; and there are other passages like this.

Woman at the Well, American Gallery

He did make rare exceptions. Such as when he ministered to the woman at the well. A Samaritan woman. He broke cultural and Jewish cultural expectations: he talked with a woman – and a Samaritan, with whom Jews seldom spoke with. Accepted water from her. And he’s previously said he came only for Israel. But she wanted his ministry and desired it strongly! Such was a worthy exception to the norm of ministering only to those who you are called to. It’s sort of a safety exception – allowing unusual ministry.

Minister to those you are called to. How do you know who these people are, what people group it is?

  • First, seek to remember what God has already shown you or told you that gives clues and hints.
  • Second, Ask! Ask God and pay attention to what you experience next; this could be an answer from God. Even if unexpected.
  • Third, if you still don’t know, ask God how to pray for guidance. He will show you an answer – keep praying for it until that answer is in good effect.
  • Forth, notice that you get along better with some people who draw the best out of you. They are actually gifted to receive from you and through you. You are gifted and called to minister to such people.
  • Fifth, avoid temptation: do not try to minister to others unless they want to receive through you strongly, like the Samaritan woman at the well.

If you allow yourself to be busy with those you are not called to, your energy, time and ministry will be siphoned away from those you should be ministering to. You will be tired. You will be much less effective in your ministry. You will be ministering to those whom God never called you to, and disobeying the call God has on your ministry. Avoid such temptations; you will be exhausted and distracted, vulnerable and hurt. And with poor results. Best is to always do as God shows you and tells you to do.

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Conversation with God Getting Help Prayer Tribulation

An Outrageous Command

2Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials.‡ 3Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].‡

4And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4, The Amplified Study Bible, eBook. Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

This command just isn’t natural. It isn’t natural to rejoice whenever you fall into various trials. It isn’t even natural to be able to do this. Only by faith and with the help of Holy Spirit, can you do this.

Rest in Jesus. Faith is easy.

Ask for such faith and receive it. Ask for wisdom, receive it, and act on the wisdom you receive.

Read on in James 1 if you need help with receiving such wisdom; the directions are clear. Follow the directions our Lord has given us.

What I write here is sharp and to the point. There is no softening of what I call for you to do. Your life is much better when you are doing this. You are not being pampered: go do this.

Your life will change!

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Discipleship Getting Help Leadership Learning Ministry Prayer

Discipling like Jesus

Jesus had a pattern for making disciples. We can see some of it in Scriptures, and we can make educated guesses to fill in some details. How he taught was common to Hebrew teachers, rabbi’s, in those days.

I’ve spoken with seasoned disciple makers and missionaries who’ve done this, and they helped me get an even better practical picture.

First, as with everything, get guidance. Then pray. Pray with clear prayer targets – such as successful disciple making of disciples who make yet more disciples.

The basic pattern is simple: show, tell, and do. Probably even explain, show, discuss. Repeat until they are ready to do.

When you care, being a disciple is easy. (Good Friday by Anita Brown.)

The pattern is not classroom instruction, reading about or learning about things. It’s being shown, discussion before and after. It’s learning to do what you do. With an explanation. It is not learning about things. Theory isn’t nearly enough.

It might have worked something along these lines:

  • First, discuss what you will do, what they will see, especially so they know what to look for, what is significant.
  • Demonstrate in front of them, so they can see.
  • Third, discuss how it went. How it was as you’d hoped and expected, things that were different. Issues and complications, if any; and especially how it went well.
  • Let them ask questions as part of this discussion. Answer.
  • Maybe show them several times. Is often a good idea, especially with something new.
  • Send them out to go do as you did.
  • Have them report back to you. Let them ask questions. Make comments so they learn even more. (If they rejoice that even demons do as they command, give them the perspective that yes, this is good, and that it is even more important that their names are written in heaven – for instance.)
  • Send them out again.
  • Repeat this cycle until all are satisfied that good learning has taken place.

Disciple making is demonstration with explanation. Then they demonstrate, and ask questions, and you give additional perspective as is useful.

Disciple making is not a classroom activity. It is not talking about things. It’s being shown and then doing as shown. With explanations as is useful.

Additional notes:

  • Train disciples in how to make disciples. They will demonstrate. Disciples multiply by themselves, making disciples.
  • Disciples normally go out and minister in pairs. Ministry is normally in pairs. Always minister in pairs when you can. The more senior is making a disciple of the less experienced person. The less senior person assists and helps the more senior. This gives them something useful to do and provides practical help.
  • When ministering, when one talks, the other prays for the one ministering. Results are much better this way.
  • Grab someone out of a crowd who is watching, if you have no one else. Let them assist you and pray for you while you minister. Help them learn and discuss what happened. Not just ministering, always teaching.
  • A prayer support group is even more helpful. Set one up. If nothing else, find local people who are sympathetic and ask for their prayer support.
  • Prayer support is primarily for the minister, so they are more inspired and do well. They will do better. The people praying will pay more attention as they are invested, and they will learn more. Prayer is not primarily for the person being ministered to, as tempting as this may be. It could be helpful, but not nearly as helpful as praying for the person ministering.

Go, and make disciples. Make mistakes. Admit them and discuss them, so everyone can learn from them: we learn a lot through mistakes. Share the learning, and do not hold back such a wonderful opportunity. And of course celebrate what goes well!

This is the pattern that Jesus used. Go, and do the same.

And, there is a next step….

Categories
Discipleship Getting Help Intercession Prayer

Prayer & Ministry Targets

joshua-earle-9idqIGrLuTE-unsplash

What are prayer and ministry targets? Prayer for and ministry to people and situations where you can see the wanted results as the Kingdom of God spreads.

Answers to prayer with targets that you can see for yourself. Fruit of ministry that can you can see and and appreciate.

Too few people know this. It’s a sort of secret. More people should know: most prayer gets results, and quickly. With wonderful speed. Most ministry yields good fruit – with very good and rapid results.

Why do not more people know? Why are we ourselves so slow to recognize and see this? Well, for me, it’s anxiousness for wanted results. We focus so much on results we want and do not see that we focus less on our Lord. We focus on so much we do not notice how rapid the results usually are, because we’ve moved on to the next thing we do not have or do not see. And we focus on and remember our pain and disappointments more than on our joy and successes.

It’s sort of amazing that we have enough faith to get so much done. But we look at results so little because we focus on the next thing we do not yet experience or have.

In your Prayer Journal or elsewhere (I used index cards) note what you pray for and what you minister for – and note the results and date each of these. You will be as astounded as I was to discover that most prayer yields excellent results and most ministry bears good fruit. And you will delight at the speed. And you will wonder why this sometimes doesn’t happen – you will investigate and learn.

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Getting Help Holy Spirit Joy

Bootstrap as Holy Spirit

I have a friend, Debi Mealey Pitcairn Flory, http://www.monentswithnettie.com/, who just inspired me with a previously unknown Name for Holy Spirit.

Like some wounded people, I thought I was doing stuff by myself, for myself. I believed no one else was helping me.

She had pulled herself up by her bootstrap many times. As I have done, though I did not use the word “bootstrap”. We each thought we were doing things by ourselves, for ourselves, and were caught in the illusion that we had been alone, doing what needed to be done.

I have made a wonderful discovery. My friend pulled back the curtain on this issue for me. Opened the curtain to show what I had never noticed before.

When I had thought I was doing stuff for myself because I had to and no one else was there to help me, Bootstrap was already there – has always been here. Helping me – Bootstrap is a Helper, not a “Do it for you-er”. Bootstrap, Holy Spirit, was always already present and helping.

I have discovered I was never alone. Holy Spirit has always been here, helping, including helping me to do things – even when I thought I was alone.

Holy Spirit was always here, sent by Jesus – to help guide and comfort me. To help.

Father sent Jesus, and is with me and for me, cheering me on like any wonderful father, as I keep on trying. Certain that I can do all the wonderful things I am made to grow into and do. I can do it! I can do it! He is cheering me on, always. He knew from before the beginning and has always had excellent plans for me.

A big thanks to my friend, Debi Mealey Pitcairn Flory, http://www.monentswithnettie.com/, for uncovering this mystery. And to Bootstrap, who has helped make all this possible.

Categories
Anointing Conversation with God Discipleship Getting Help Healing Intercession Ministry Prayer

Experience Ministering with Jesus

So…by now I hope you are praying well – having conversations with Father, Jesus, &/or Holy Spirit: one God, three Persons. Getting answers quickly. Getting guidance and persisting. If you are having difficulty hearing God, doing one thing appears to be especially valuable.

I’ll focus on Jesus – which is easier for many of us and is a splendid fallback position when you are not doing as well or being as resourceful as you prefer. You can talk to one, two, or all of the Trinity – one at a time or together.

This is your genuine family. The root and basis of who you really are.

Remember how Jesus ministers: doing as Father shows him or tells him. You can do the same.

So…to minister with Jesus, or through Jesus when you need to depend on him even more and especially when you are not ready to be more active, here’s how to experience this.

Pray. Talk to Jesus. Listen, sense, watch – receive guidance and answers. Ask how to pray. In active ministry, it’s especially valuable to converse quickly and get helpful responses. Here’s how to get quick and reliable guidance from God about how to pray.

Tell Jesus what’s on your heart. Ask for guidance or how to pray, just as in the links above. Or, when you want to intercede and ask God to help – ask Jesus to take care of what is already on your heart. It’s a brilliant way to intercede. Intercession is asking God to do something for someone – so literally do this!

Minister with Jesus. Minister through Jesus. You can do this. And it’s as easy as having a conversation. Because that’s what prayer is – having a conversation where you share your heart and where you are attentive to and allow Jesus to share his heart with you.

He loves you that much. He wants to minister that much. He wants to minister with you and through you. And he loves it when you minister with him – and when you minister through him. He loves this much.

So minister with Jesus. Minister through Jesus. Love and serve, with and through our Lord and Savior. You can do this! He makes it easy.

Put your compassion to work. Add your faith – you only need a teeny, mustard seed size bit of faith. Or have someone pray with you and allow them to use their faith. This is one of many excellent reasons for having prayer partners. (More on Prayer Partners, soon.)

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Conversation with God Getting Help Hearing God Prayer

God Answers Quickly!

Ask God.

Ask with total openness and vulnerability. Be wide open as you ask. (My friend, Dan Carl, first put this into words for me.)

Ask for how to pray. Also, ask for Guidance. Ask God…even just cry out, “Lord!?!” He already knows what you need.

And pay attention to what comes into your awareness right away. What comes quickly!

It will probably surprise you to notice how quickly God answers.

I see that God answers far faster than I ever expected or thought.

Usually you do not have to wait long. What it requires is that we be being attentive. Paying attention. Ready to notice. And ready far faster and more quickly than they have trained you to expect or notice.

I wonder…how much do we not hear God because he answered far more quickly than we expected?

(I encourage you to follow the early links to the other related articles. Which allows this article to be shorter than if I repeated it all here.)