Categories
Discipleship Jesus Preaching Kingdom of God Ministry

What is The Good News of the Kingdom of God – that Jesus Preached?

Mark 1:15 gives us the shortest – checklist or bulleted point version – of the Gospel, the Good News, that Jesus preached.

Good News is big news – news that changes everything. It was modeled after how the Romans announced a new Emperor. Messengers were sent out, proclaiming how there was a new ruler. Who would protect the empire, and the peace – the Pax Romana. All were to bow down to the new ruler and worship. So much was this modeled after what the Roman Empire did, I am surprised that Jesus wasn’t killed for announcing this way – and killed far earlier. But God had other plans.

Jesus uses the term Good News in Luke 4 where he gives the longest version of the gospel in the Synoptic, the first three Gospels. He is quoting from Isaiah 61. Israel was very familiar with Isaiah.

So the term “Good News” had multiple meanings to the people of the times in the Roman Empire, including in Jerusalem. It was a strong term.

Let’s take a look at the short version of the Gospel so we don’t overload ourselves at first look.

There are a couple of things about the context that are best understood. You may remember that scripture tells us that Jesus was called to preach to the Hebrews, to Israel, first. The Hebrews were well versed in Torah, the teachings of the first five books of our bible.

They knew well of, and understood much about the Fall of Man and the curses of this broken world that we have inherited. This was written about in Genesis 3:15, and the Hebrews knew this scripture well.

That’s what I like to call the Bad News: we live in a broken world full of curses and problems, such as sickness, death, taxes, relationship difficulties, financial problems, bad politics, imperfect and even evil rulers…the list goes on and on. All of us are affected by at least some of these: the Bad News is personal to us all.

So Good News that changes everything is greatly needed.

Jesus told us that Now is the time. The time of his coming and of his Kingship (he is the King of the Kingdom of God) – his Kingship had been coming for a long time. And when the human mind hears the word “Now” spoken, without realizing it, we tend to think of now. We momentarily experience ourselves in the present. A side effect of this is that we are more present, and we are more whole minded. Decisions have an even wider impact, helping them to be more solid and long lasting unlike too many New Years resolutions.

Remember, this is being spoken by the King who is present. The Anointed One, who has Holy Spirit on him since his baptism in water, Holy Spirit for a purpose – which is an important part of the human experience of the Anointing. (Luke 4 and Isaiah 61 tells us what the Anointing is for. The Hebrews knew this well, and were looking forward to the coming of the Anointed: the Messiach (transliterated from the Hebrew) or the Christ (transliterated from the Greek).

When an important truth is spoken, human intuition perceives it, if nothing is getting in the way. Holy Spirit is whispering it to our spirit, and we know; and we know that we know….

So Now is the time. The Time has come. (Kairos moment – anyone?)

Now the big announcement. Here it is, folks. And this is huge. Why, because we live in a broken world full of curses where the adversary rules – that’s a whole other message – but see Genesis.

Now here’s the thing, folks.

When we experience the Presence of God as near us, with us or in us – we experience ourselves as more confident, whole, resourceful and even joyful.

When we experience the Presence of God as far away or absent, we become depressed and tend to become hopeless. We may feel fragmented, we certainly do not experience ourselves as feeling whole.

Want to see these differences dramatized? Read Psalms!

The difference is not subtle. It’s very important.

When we experience the truth and Presence of God as in us, near us or in us – we experience not only more wholeness, but more whole-mindedness. This means that when we make decisions while being this way, the decisions are deeper and more long lasting. Less fickle than so many well intended New Years resolutions.

So the message of Jesus continues. Now is the time (finally). (The King is speaking. Clearly implied but not said.) The Kingdom of God is at hand – literally, within reach.

Which means – those areas where the hearer is experiencing the curses or brokenness of this world – such as sickness, financial or relationship difficulties, and so forth — which are under the rulership of the adversary — are all within reach of help. The rule of God as in Eden (Paradise, Garden of) – can be restored to that area of your life. Sickness can be healed. Bondage to unclean things (including any spirit of uncleanliness) – freedom can be obtained – “the prisoners freed”. And so forth.

This is good news. Wonderful news! Literally, Good News that changes everything.

In the future, we’ll explore how this is applied to practical ministry to heal peoples sicknesses and problems. How to literally restore to humans every good thing originally given to us by God.

So watch for future articles.

Categories
Church Life Discipleship Holy Spirit Ministry Success

Had Never Seen a Pastor Cry

John, a revered yet aging Pastor, was crying in the parking lot. It was the end of the day and nearly everyone had left. The parking lot was nearly empty, the smell of car fumes fading in the closing early evening light. I had just finished sweeping, and was headed home.

And, I had never seen a grown man cry like this in such a public place, much less a Pastor. I was uncomfortable, embarrassed, and I had no idea what to do. And I could not look away, I was as fascinated as I was scared. No, I was more fascinated than scared.

Approaching carefully, lumbering along with his long legs came Ben, an unofficial elder in the church. He’d been around for years and never held an official position. Yet when he spoke, people knew to listen.

I knew he’d know what to do and what to say, so I paid close attention.

I did know, and I had heard some of the biting remarks, some people – I guess you could call it a faction, criticized the Pastor for how he did his job. Some people disagreed with how he did things. The Board Meetings had grown longer than they used to be. And when people came out from them, sometimes some of them were clearly unhappy. Or so I had fairly recently heard.

I was too far away to hear clearly. Ben got Pastor John’s attention and said something, I’m now fairly certain he’d asked a question. Pastor John took some time replying. I could not look away, though I tried very hard not to be seen staring.

They talked. After a while, Ben looked over to me and motioned for me to come over. I was scared and nervous; I knew I’d been caught prying. But I came, I had no choice.

Ben looked at me, I was the youngest there, and he told me, in a quiet yet very definite way, “I want you to hear this.” Now I felt caught in a place I had no business being; but Ben was as safe as he was wise. Like a grandfather who makes it clear that you are wonderful, the best, and who always believes in you. So even though I was nervous and had been caught out, I felt pretty safe.

Pastor John had his composure now, and stood looking at Ben with his arms no longer moving as when he was talking; they were just hanging by his sides.

I heard Ben say this, and I’d never forgotten that moment. “Pastor John, have you been doing your very best?” “Yes, of course I have.”

“Have you done what you know or believe what Jesus has wanted you to do, to the best of your ability?” “Always. I wasn’t always as sure as I wanted to be, but I’ve been careful to do my best.”

“Have you acted with loving compassion, as much as possible?” Pastor John thought for a bit, lifted his head and smiled a bit as he answered like he just realized something. Then he answered, in a more definite way than he had been speaking before: “Yes!” He looked almost surprised at his own answer.

“Have you acted with, as best you knew how, with the Holy Spirit?” “Yes, I have”, came Pastor John’s reply with a growing yet thoughtfulness, steadiness and strength.

“Well, then I have something to say. You are a success.”

Categories
Blessings Multiply Joy Kingdom of God Presence of God

Like Fireworks Exploding, Watch Blessings Multiply

One of my favorite things in the world to do, that has become a great habit, is to look expectantly for blessings to watch.

It is the nature of blessings to multiply!

Blessings grow in the life of a person being blessed, and multiply. Blessings grow and spread to more people: and multiply!

Watch this happening. Expect this. Pray for this. Give thanks for how blessings multiply like fireworks in the sky on a July 4th day of Independence in the U.S.A. Glorious!

One result: by looking for how blessings multiply, you will see this multiplication more often. You will have more reason to rejoice. More confidence in God. More joy in your life.

Enjoy watching blessings multiply and grow in people and among people, and in nature, beauty, and just having the ability to breathe with joy!

Categories
Discipleship Discipleship, Getting Help Hearing God Holy Spirit Joy Kingdom of God Miracles Prayer Presence of God

From a Leg Cramp to No Canes

This morning I slept a bit later than usual, then woke with a cramp. It was sharp, and hurt. Fortunately, it was a small muscle leg cramp.

I remembered something Al Mack wrote on Facebook yesterday about the importance of keeping our attention on God. So I called on Holy Spirit and asked for help.

The more I kept attention on Holy Spirit, the less it hurt. This was good. Then more happened….

I felt muscles shift throughout the middle of my body. First, this helped the cramping, reducing it nicely. Then something even better happened, as I kept my attention on Holy Spirit.

I felt muscles continue to shift, the balance of my body changed, also. And I knew I could walk without my rolling walker, and even without canes.

I tested this out. It felt wonderful – much better to stand and walk with such freedom. It felt strange, not having walked like this in more years than I clearly remember at the moment.

Since then I’ve been testing this out. Strange and wonderful it is to walk with my hands free to carry or do things. The joy of very every day things has multiplied. Handling soap, going to the sink, walking with my dogs so I can let them out of the house in the morning — all done with a fair amount of joy.

I hope I keep on noticing and paying attention to such every day joy. I have asked for this, too; and I have confidence that this is mine. I used to be this way and now am experiencing joy in every day things again. Hallelujah!

I am being careful with muscles. I have been getting stronger, but some muscles have not been used much for some years now. So I am being conscious not to over do walking too much while I continue to get stronger.

I was amazed and grateful when I was, a few years ago, able to stand and walk right, hips and legs not being an obstacle to that. I rejoiced and was glad. I knew I was healed, and I walked. And I knew healing would continue to show up.

And I rejoice and am glad now.

And there are muscles to use and strengthen; a body to get used to again. And joy to be had that these things are so.

The power of keeping our attention on Holy Spirit can and does release miracles, just doing that. And a wonderful companionship. Walking with Jesus is the same…there is a certain energy and understanding love that comes through him that always surprises and is amazing. And it is hugely wonderful to walk with him.

Now I can walk with him while I metaphorically walk with him. I have no words for this, so I’ll stop writing, now.

Categories
Discipleship, Getting Help

Stressed? Look on Things Above

Al Mack, on Facebook, suggested looking on things above rather than be caught in the stresses of this season. “Colossians 3:2: Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Wise.

I commented:

I’m doing well with stress of this season – thanks to our Lord! Yet this morning I had the same lesson reinforced. Woke with a leg cramp; fortunately not a large muscle, but still painful. So I asked, “Holy Spirit, help!” Literally. The cramp did not go away all at once, BUT, the more I focused on Holy Spirit, the less I was bothered by the cramp and the more it eased off. The more I focused on Holy Spirit the lesser the pain and the more quickly the cramp was resolving. A great lesson in paying attention to things above more than on earthly things. Lord, help me remember and apply this lesson – constantly!

Categories
Discipleship, Getting Help

Step Back

When you find yourself getting overwhelmed by all the needs around you, give yourself permission to stop right where you are.

Take a deep breath. All of this doesn’t depend on you. It just seems that way whenever we take the burdens off Jesus’ shoulders and put them on ourselves.

As soon as you look away from Jesus to stare at the unending needs and expectations, it’s like falling into a black hole. Your love and strength deplete until you become resentful of your own life.

— Click to Continue Reading —

Categories
Hearing God

Hearing God – Still Voice or a Word of Knowledge & Maybe Wisdom

For a long time, my favorite way of hearing God was Still Small Voice. When you are paying attention, God can speak to you this way, you hear, you know. You know that you know…. And you are ready and set to get on with what’s next in regard to what you are hearing.

Sometimes you get a Word of Knowledge &/or Wisdom. Which may come as an image, a memory, an association, a thought in your own mind; a body feeling…these come in many ways. Takes some getting used to. Once you start getting the knack of paying attention, though, it gets easier and easier.

With such a Word of Knowledge &/or Wisdom, you have to search a bit. You have to be more active in your listening. God isn’t doing it all for you. This is good for you and prepares you to be more active.

Sometimes you hear in a dream, a symbolic vision, something that requires even more active searching on your part. Maybe even a parable or dark saying. Or a puzzle. Or something symbolic and new to you. Our Lord loves it when you search out his Word. Which causes you to be even more active and committed, searching it out. Receiving the whole message is not as certain – you have to follow through.

Having to follow through like this is very different than when you hear Still Small Voice and you can act on the Word you receive right away. If you are paying attention and listening, you have received the message.

You may deepen your understanding later, diving intuitively, with your spirit, more into what Holy Spirit has delivered to you – but you are ready to act right away.

Interesting differences.

Can you begin to see and to wonder about when and how God might be speaking to you in different ways at different times? Requiring your response in different time frames? With different levels of activity on your part?

I invite you to ponder this. To meditate. To learn.

Categories
Discipleship Getting Help Hearing God Intercession Pain Prayer

How To Receive Quick & Reliable Guidance for Prayer

Jesus ministered by doing as Father showed him and told him. We really can do the same. Here’s how!

A first key that so many of us have been missing is this: ask Father how to pray. How to pray for whatever situation, need, concern, worry, fear, or ministry opportunity we have.

A second key many of us miss is this: notice what happens, what you see, hear or otherwise what you experience. Especially when this is not what you expected.

What you experience is either Still Small Voice – or more likely what is a Word of Knowledge and a Word of Wisdom, or what is very much like one.

What you will experience is not directions for what you were likely expecting in how to pray.

What you will experience is literally the answer to the need or issue that you are praying about. How to have the answer you were seeking; what to be, what to do, or both.

You are responsible to pray for, steward and enforce that answer about to how to pray.

Some examples:

  • If pain in a muscle has been an issue, you may experience subtle shifts or subtle movements in that muscle. That’s the target. That’s what to pray for. What to do. It’s also the answer to how to pray – pray for that. Do that. See your ministry recipient doing that. Enforce what you have been shown or told or otherwise experienced. Those subtle movements and how they are made: pray for them and see that they are done.
  • If you have a chronic issue or problem, you may be given a memory of when another person demonstrated how to be and what sort of thing to do – and be a person without that problem. You may have a flash of memory when you acted in such a way. That’s your answer to your prayer, that’s what to pray for, that’s what to do and to enforce in prayer on earth as it is in heaven.
  • If you have a relationship problem, you may be given a thought, memory, idea, feeling, way of being, things to do — that are literally an answer to such an issue. So you are to pray for that, do those things or see that they are done. Enforce that answer to prayer, and pray that such is done.

What we too often miss is this: an answer to how to pray is often us being shown the solution to what we are praying about.

The solution we are to pray for, act upon, see that it is done. To pray for and to enforce, on earth as it is in heaven and to see that it is done.

We are expecting something that looks to us like how to pray: maybe a picture or set of directions of us praying – and how.

What we are getting is an answer to what we are praying about.

An answer to the prayer-need that we are to pray for! To enforce, to do, to act upon, and to see that it is done on earth as it already is in heaven.

God is faster and more generous than we expect.

And we can too easily miss such answers, because it is not what we were expecting. Such answers can be quick and can be subtle, as well as not what we expect to see or hear – which can make the answers we receive all too easy to miss.

A Word of Knowledge may be you experiencing something in your body. Having a feeling, a knowing, a memory of you or someone else doing something. Not what we usually expect.

A Word of Wisdom is an answer and how to apply knowledge well.

A request about how to pray results in us being shown a solution which is an answer to the need or problemincluding what to pray forthat solution.

Praise be to our Lord and Christ for Wisdom, Knowledge, love and faith. Rejoice in such love and kindness shown and told to us. Receive with joy, and rejoice!

P.S. – See below:

So K. asked for more examples, and the back and forth of the conversation went something like this:

K: I like that David. Asking how to pray sounds like a good question. I wonder, and maybe this just me being slow right now, but I wonder if you could tell me a couple of more concrete examples of what you might see in a particular situation so I can see it better? It could be made up, but it helps me understand if you say, supposed you prayed for help with having arguments with a person and you received this (example of what you might receive) as a response, then this is what you would do.

By the way, also posted the post on MeWe.

.

David: A memory such as a family friend who refused to take arguments seriously. Who refused to acknowledge anger. Who just laughed in a warm and loving way.

Which teaches me how to be and how to act.

Which gives me a model, exemplar, to learn from. To have a sense of the kind of energy to be applying.

Of someone just refusing to believe in or take seriously or real something less than another persons best self.

Which teaches me to apply these attitudes and behaviors to the situation and person I was praying about.

Or I might have a memory or image of someone who listens deeply and well, with love. To find, with good intent, what the other person is experiencing. How they understand things to be. To understand what they really need from me.

I might remember a story of a saint or someone interceding for someone with a determined and loving intention, while being shown being full of Holy Spirit.

Or just someone who is loving, paying attention, and who reacts without any defensiveness. Just listening deeply and knowing the person who is angry.

Does this help?

These show me how to be, and also how to pray. To pray that such attitudes and actions take place.

Questions? Comments or thoughts?

I might have an image of the sun shining on chilly people. And realize that this is how God shines on us all, and of what I am called to do.

Just shine, warmly.

And pray that I do that, or that it gets done.

Or a warm breeze doing the same.

Or an image of the Dalai Lama or Bishop Desmond Tutu, smiling in the way they do, with understanding, complete acceptance and love.

And realize I am to do that, to be that way, and to pray that I do, until it happens.

Or see or remember a mother cat, licking and loving her kittens.

Or see a leaf, growing happily among many other leaves on a tree, feeling what that’s like and what it means.

Does this make any sense?

You see, having the answer is not always enough.

So we asked how to pray. We’re shown the answer as what to pray for.

And praying for that may be needed until it is done because knowledge alone is not enough.

Knowing an answer can fall short of living out that answer – so prayer is still needed.

We asked how to pray, and are shown how to pray.

Even though it looks like an answer or that it looks like something we have not yet seen as an answer.

In either case, prayer is needed until the thing is done.

We asked to be shown how to pray, and we are being shown how to pray for that answer to happen.

Categories
Discipleship Getting Help Kingdom of God Miracles

Good Success – Guaranteed!

Love, in the context of the issue.

So…you have an issue, problem, or something you are concerned about: this is a context, a situation within which you are experiencing stuff.

You may experience doubt, concern, anxiety, fear….

And there is a way to certain success. In NKJV, Romans 28:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Love God. Love God in this situation, in this context.

Discover for yourself: do you have confidence and therefore faith because of the promise? That all things work together for good, to those who love God?

Categories
Discipleship, Getting Help Intercession Kingdom of God Missing the mark: Sin Pain Prayer

Prophecy or Judgement?

I believe this is a lesson Father wants me to learn and act upon:

I have a friend who has wonderful prophetic gifts.

Who also has a wonderful capacity to see where someone, especially professing Christians, are wrong. Especially where they are being hypocritical or falling short.

Such an ability can be used to judge, having been hurt and angered by what is seen. And then to do nothing to help them be fully restored.

Emotional healing is needed. Such a person needs to be restored. So they are free to minister in the love of Jesus rather than to judge.

I pray that such a friend, such a person, will come to Jesus to receive emotional healing. That I will have the wisdom to know how to intercede for such a person, and to know how to offer such emotional healing prayer with them. Then to exhort and encourage them to use their gifts to minister where they see need, where they see other Christians missing the mark.

Knowing what ministry is needed, such an ability and gifting can be used to exhort, teach and minister. To restore and redeem, in Jesus.

Knowing what a ministry target Father has on his heart.

For ministry. Not judgement.

Do you know such a person? Highly gifted, hurt and angry? Judgemental?

Who has been missing the opportunity to minister the love of Jesus; to heal, restore? To love, exhort and to teach?

I believe we are sent to extend the mission of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. To help redeem, reconcile and restore.

People may disappoint and even hurt us. Does Jesus want us to judge and leave those people in having missed the mark?

What does Jesus want such a prophetically gifted person to do?

Do you know such a person, or have such a friend?

I have been missing the mark. I have not interceded enough. I have not offered prayer for emotional healing in a way that speaks to my friend. I have not helped my friend – I just see what is missing and wrong.

I am missing the mark. I am sinning. I have the same kind of problem that my friend has. Oh, the irony of this!

Is the Kingdom of God meant to be a multi-level organization of judgement? Where we each see what is wrong with each other and then judge? Or a place where God calls us to do our own part to help create a multi-level Kingdom of restoration, where we each minister with love and joy?

Please pray that I receive every bit of healing and wisdom that I need. So I minister with and in the love of Jesus and see my friend restored. That I not judge. That I not do nothing.