Comforting

When you are offering ministry to someone, if you could make them more comfortable by offering them a seat or a drink of water, it would be good to add that blessing.

Two other things that comfort almost anyone, though almost no one realizes it, are touching and mimicking.

If you touch a person’s forearm for a few seconds, the results for almost anyone include making them more accepting of you, your suggestions, your blessing. Physical touch increases emotional acceptance, increasing space for faith to work.

Mimicking works even more powerfully. If I am standing with my arms crossed, and you cross your arms, part of my brain recognizes the match of you being “like me” and it causes me to be more receptive to your suggestions and requests, because it increases my comfort level.

As you consider using these ideas, or try them out, remember that influence that intends to control is witchcraft. Influence that we offer should be with the intention of liberating.

Interpreting Tongues

Recently I was in a meeting of believers. At the end of the meeting a couple of the leaders wanted to pray over a woman who was visiting. Apparently everyone in the crowd knew her but me.

I was asked to pray for her after the leaders prayed. I felt that the Spirit told me to pray for her to receive the gift of interpretation of tongues. I didn’t want to pray for that without some indication of desire on her part, though. If the Lord was calling her to that ministry but she didn’t want it, the prayer for her to receive it would be untimely and maybe wasted, even turning her away from the idea, perhaps.

I asked her if she had been praying for the gift of interpretation. She replied, “I was in a meeting the other day and everybody was giving me a hard time because I don’t speak in tongues!”

I repeated the question, making it clearer that I was talking about interpreting, not speaking. This time, she replied that she had not been praying for it, but would like it. I touched her and prayed for her to receive the gift, and I prayed that the Holy Spirit would keep her from being discouraged when she didn’t get an interpretation because someone was just making noise instead of speaking.

I reminded her of the abuse she had recently received from the people who were trying to make her believe that everyone has to speak in tongues. I told her that some people would be afraid enough of those annoying people that they would pretend to speak in tongues just to get them to leave them alone and stop accusing them of failure. If she encountered one of those or other unreal situations, she would think that she was the failure because she was not getting an interpretation if she didn’t get the revelation that there was no message to interpret.

She turned away from me just as I was speaking something in tongues to her. Still looking away, she said, “Yeah, I guess so!”

I asked her what she thought I had just said to her. She said, “You said the Lord said I needed to trust Him more,” which didn’t sound anything like the syllables I had just spoken. She heard the English so clearly that she did not even realize that I had spoken to her in tongues.

Unholy Roman Empire

WRONG RULERS     Every time the leaders of the church have come to believe that they need to rule over the rest of the world, what was birthed was something evil.

WRONG RULERS     Every time members of the church have come to believe that they should abstain from becoming leaders in government and other culture-forming entities (including education and news agencies and the arts) the culture gets handed over to anyone who wants to rule it with their agendas and values and make it obey and worship them.

RIGHT RULERS    Every time members of the church move into leadership roles in the culture-forming entities and use their spiritual gifts to obey the King in those positions, the Kingdom of God is advanced in the societies that they influence.

RIGHT RULER    The Kingdom is where the King is honored with obedience, including serving by leading.

Sanctified Vision

In John 4, Jesus saw Samaria as a field ready to be harvested. The disciples who were with Him saw a food market. The woman at the well made no sense to them.

In Luke 9, Jesus saw Samaria as a place to rest on His way to Jerusalem. Because the locals refused Him hospitality, James and John saw a crowd deserving damnation, and asked for permission to call fire from God to accomplish it.

In Acts 8, Philip saw Samaria as a field ready to be harvested. Two events empowered him to receive that harvest.

One was the ministry of the apostles to him when they laid their hands on him to sanctifiy him with 6 other young Helenistic Jews to deliver food to widows who were being discriminated against by the Hebraic Jews who were supposed to be taking care of them. When they touched them and blessed him, the Holy Spirit gave them spiritual gifts .

The second event was the persecution that broke out after the murder of Stephen, which caused believers to be thrust into ministry and the apostles to be held back from ministry.

Stephen was described in the beginning of Acts 6 as “full of faith and the Holy Spirit.” After the apostles laid hands on him and prayed, Luke described him as “full of grace and power.”

Lord, open our eyes and our hearts and our doors! Give us grace and power. Give us the harvest.

More Disciplined

The US Army has clear rules about how their employees should set up the schedule of their daily exercise and work and for interaction with their superiors when they are on duty. If my rank is inferior to yours, I must salute you, and there is a proper way to salute. Failure to perform according to the rules can be costly through punishment.

Buddhist monks undergo similar indoctrination and discipline. Monks in the church of Rome do, too. Following a certain set of rules and/or guides makes me a disciple.

Being a devoted disciple of Jesus requires discovering His desires for my life, my thoughts, my rest, etc, and then living according to the revelation of what He shows brings Abundant Life. As Paul wrote to the congregations in Philippi, “it is God Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

If you are finding yourself in an undisciplined condition, then, not really living out the values and instructions of the Lord, ask Him to work in you to want it more.

Don’t just try harder. Surrender more – more time, more honor, more love, more worship. Let Him direct your desires and He will be free to direct your behavior.

One is Too Big

 

I had a short discussion recently with one of Joseph Smith’s tribe (a Mormon) about “the Trinity.”

He has been taught that Adam created the world we live in. Jesus is his Son. The Holy Spirit is not a person, but more like a breath. A mysterious influence, like the Christmas spirit. Other gods in other worlds muddy the water quite a bit. If the young man plays his earthly life cards right, he’ll be a god one day too.

He wanted to hear my thoughts on the Trinity. I shared that the concept is bigger than the space between my ears. When someone tells me that they have it figured out and explain it to me, I weigh other things they say more carefully…

My standard challenge to people who “understand” how Jesus and Father and Spirit are One is to quiz them about what term they will use to describe what Jesus promised at the last supper – that we will be one with Him just like He is One with the Father.

Just    like  …  

We are going to be One with Father and Spirit and Jesus. Just like they are One with each Other.

Brace up for even greater Awesomeness you can’t understand.

 

Joy In Forgiveness

Suppose you were authorized to travel through the nation forgiving debts. Jubilee style.

Imagine if the American federal government had given indebted people the trillion dollars a few years ago, empowering them to pay off their debts,  instead of to the corporations who were being rewarded for poor business decisions.

When someone sins against you, it is a wondrous opportunity to let mercy triumph over judgment – to overcome evil with good. Their indebtedness, that was acquired by them when they harmed you, was covered in a government debt eradication program.

The Kingdom of God is the very scandalously generous government . The program is called The Cross of Jesus. The debts are paid in blood.

When you find someone who is buried in debt, don’t fail to introduce them to the program. Help them through the process . Especially if any of their debt was acquired by sinning against you. What a privilege getting that debt paid will be!

Other Languages

If you haven’t read any of Dr. Gary Chapman’s material on what he calls the “Five Love Languages,” I think you should.

His premise includes the idea that we think and feel in different languages, and therefore interpret others’ words and actions through the filters of our language. If they speak in a different language from the one we listen in, we won’t understand what they are saying or doing. The situation could keep us from feeling loved even though someone is pouring their life out to try to prove their love for us.

The concept works in many other areas of life. We frequently don’t understand each other because I’m speaking my language and you’re listening in yours. There are male / female mismatches, geographically based culture mismatches, national and racial barriers, and actual language walls.

If you have something you want to say to someone, or if you want to ask someone to do something, it will make your mission more likely to succeed if you do all you can to present the ideas to them in their own language. Place the request in their worldview or values system.

Silver & Gold

There is a legend (maybe true) about two cardinals of the Roman church who were observing some work being done on a new building – a basilica. One commented to the other, “No longer do we have to say, ‘Silver and gold have I none!'”

The other cardinal responded, “True. Nor can we continue to say, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.'”

If your study of Scripture isn’t leading you into real-izing (bringing into real life) the sort of supernatural fellowship and activities you encounter there, you may be missing someOne.

If you are stuck reading the Book as if it were an exciting novel, and find yourself wishing at times that you could have lived in those days, ask for the rest of the story. The people in those days longed to see these days.

The rest of the stories happen today and tomorrow. They have your name written in them. And the names of the fruit you leave when you are done with your part.

Brace up. Breathe deep. Dive.

The Experts’ Opinions

There are many experts who agree heartily with each other that some things are true that aren’t.

There are many theologians who prefer listening to themselves and to each other than to the Spirit of Jesus. Some of the theological experts in the first century thought the Holy Spirit was a demon.

Learning to discern the voice of your Shepherd is one of the most important things you can do. Especially when He disagrees with the theologians and other experts.

You have to be reborn of God to be a spiritual person, able to hear His spiritual words. A person can have the Bible memorized and not be able to grasp one spiritual word from it. Even an expert.

Listen to the Spirit as if your life depended on it. It does. Others’ lives depend on you hearing your Shepherd’s voice and obeying It.